After-school activities - enriching experiences or a pain in the neck?

publication date: Apr 27, 2007

We all know of families where the kids seem to have an activity planned for every afternoon. While it’s tempting to try to fill any gaps in the education system with extra maths and so on, children do need time to be themselves and just chill out.

Child psychologists advise that the best activities are those which encourage socialising and exercise. A team sport or a language or drama club will also encourage social skills as will joining the Brownies or Beavers.

Learning a musical instrument, while popular with parents, requires a lot of practice and commitment that makes it less so with kids. Many fall by the wayside and arguing about how much they’ve practised can put extra stress on family life and makes what should be an enjoyable hobby into a chore.

Whatever choices you make about after school clubs or activities, remember children need:
  • Time to play with friends.
  • Space to develop interests and hobbies at their own pace.
  • Sustenance – they’ll need a snack and drink to keep their energy levels up.
  • To be involved in decisions – they might hate the idea of swimming but love tap dancing.
Remember you have to factor in time to take and collect your child to the activity and that may involve dragging a tired and unwilling sibling along too!