Get in the Game
Parents jump at the chance to sign their kids for extra curricular activities from swimming lessons to dance classes, but what are the actual advantages of participating? To fill us in on all the benefits is parenting expert, Alyson Shafer.
The benefits of extracurricular activities
Kids learn new skill sets, from character to social skills
Meet new friends since activities are more diverse than schools, more kids with similar interests
Exposure to adults that could be role models or mentors
Not only is it great for the kids to get involved in activities, but there are also benefit for parents. Parents get a chance to meet other parents, and make connections, ones that may benefit children in the future.
If kids stay in the programming they’ll eventually get to a level where you can drop them off and go do your own errands while they’re having fun.
It’s important to get your kids into activities because an outsourced program can provide so much more than just one, or two people can. It’s never too early to enroll the kids and the sooner they start the more they’ll learn. That being said it still vital that you have quiet family time when you’re not running around; you don’t want a frenzied, chaotic family life.
“I have a 13 year old daughter who has been playing hockey for years at least three to five times a week, but now she has decided she wants to quit. Do I let her? Also I have a son who has been in multiple activities, but he never sticks with it. He gets bored easily and then it becomes work for me to take him. What do I do for him?”
With two kids you’ve got two reasons for dropping out and, therefore, you’ll need two solutions.
First, have you asked your daughter what is about hockey that makes her want to quit? She probably worries that it’s taking over the time she wants to socialize with friends outside of the game. She doesn’t want to miss out on get-togethers and would like to have more free time rather than being dedicated to hockey. Some people like group activities because they meet other like-minded people. They form social groups with those individuals and are more motivated to stay enrolled.
Talk to her about what it is she likes about hockey, what she doesn’t and what you’ve sacrificed to help her (without making her feel guilty). Show her what she might be giving up by highlighting what she’s gotten out of it and what she has achieved. Work to finding a middle ground where you are both satisfied. There is a lot of elitism in group sports and it requires a huge time commitment, especially at the advanced levels. Can your daughter maintain her interest in hockey by doing it at a lower level? That way she gets to stay in the game without the obligation of multiple practices and time away from home.
Next, you son; try making a verbal agreement with him before starting a new activity or group. Discuss what you both are willing to put in and do in an effort for him to participate. Then make the drop out strategy clear so that he knows he needs to push through a certain amount of time, past instant success, or lack thereof, before he’ll be able to quit.