From play groups as a toddler to hobbies like football and dancing, extra curricular activities for children are really important and they can gain many benefits from them.
A study completed by the government in 2019 showed that children from the wealthiest backgrounds are three times more likely to take part in some form of after school activity such as music classes. Although one of the most common barriers children face when it comes to these activities is costs to the parents, there are other factors stopping them from taking part such as local councils cutting activities due to funding deficits and access for those with SEN.
Another factor the study found was that children lacking in confidence or suffering from anxiety are more likely to miss out. There are many reasons why after school clubs are great, but here are some of the reasons why your child taking part will can help with anxiety and confidence building.
1. It’s a different social circle
When I was growing up I essentially had two sets of friends; my school friends and my dance friends. I went to a dance school 40 minuets away from my hometown so it was a completely different set of people and I loved that.
I think it’s healthy for children to spend time with lots of different people. It helps them learn how different groups featuring different personalities work plus, there is normally a factor that has brought you together that you can talk about.
It’s also brilliant for when your child has had a bad day. I know for Lily that if she’s had a bad day at school, then she gets excited to head to ballet, send time with other people and forget about whatever has happened for a bit.
2. Improved academic mindset
After school clubs can also have huge benefits to your child’s education during school hours. Children who take part in extra clubs and activities (either run by the school or external) usually have much better behaviour in school and are able to focus more in class. This is a benefit from reception class upwards and is one of the reasons school encourage after school club attendance so much.
3. Learning new things about yourself
Taking part in activities not only gives your child the chance to learn new skills, make new friends and to improve academically, it also gives them the chance to learn new things about themselves.
When you try new things or activities outside of your comfort zone, you sometimes realise you’re far more capable than you first thought. Sometimes this can be discovering that you’re more confident than you thought or maybe that you’re more talented at something the originally thought. Either way, this can be real confidence boost for children which will have a positive impact on other areas of their lives.
4. Future Prospects
Although it is a long way off for most of us, taking par in activities looks good on college and UCAS applications. It shows that there is more to their life than school, that they show an interest in things and just lets the reader learn more about them. This is something that can also work in other ways.
In Lily’s class, every Monday they spending time writing in a journal at school and I feel like her extra activities give her lots of experiences to write about and share with the class. This in turn gives her opportunities to build her confidence with public speaking and social skills.
5. It can help them relax and let go of stress
You may not realise it, but children need time and opportunities to let go of stress and relax just as much as adults do. At the moment, a lot of children end up relaxing and letting go of stress with the help of technology, watching TV and playing games can be great fun, but sometimes, we need to help our children step away from that world. Technology comes with its own worries and stresses and they also need to be forgotten about every now and then.
Next time your child’s school send out their list of clubs, why not see if your child wants to give one or go. As half term is coming up, you may also be able to find some short term holiday clubs running locally to you like soccer school.
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