When to stop extracurricular activities for kids?
What can happen if you push your child too much and too far?
“My daughter is in 2nd grade and already so busy. She goes to school in the morning and comes back in the afternoon. Once she has napped for a while, she gets ready for the piano class and then dance class. Twice a week she also attends sports practice in school. I feel extracurricular activities for kids are essential.”
How often do you hear about busy schedules of small kids from parents around you? Chances are, even your own child may be participating in a variety of extracurricular activities for kids, to sharpen their intellect or improve their personality.
In many households it’s a common scenario that children keep shuttling between activity classes after school and on weekends. But what happens when your child refuses to take part in these activities? Have you ever wondered about when to stop your child from going for more activities?
Psychologist Justin Coulson shares that nowadays parents want to provide their kids with opportunities to learn. They encourage their kids to excel and settle only for the best. But at the same time, you also need to keep in mind that pushing your child too hard can make them crack under the pressure.
He further shares that parents contact him and say that their child is not keen on participating in after school activities. They feel that the child lacks resilience. Most importantly, they ask Dr Coulson about how to help their child keep at it.
Dr Coulson says, “The easy response is, if it matters more to you than your child, then you probably need to stop. It’s not across the board but certainly there is increased expectation on kids today than there was 20 or 30 years ago.We just want our kids to have every advantage and opportunity so they can have wonderful lives — but it’s not always going to be to their advantage.”
1. Allow your kids to quit when they want to stop
Dr Coulson says that making your little girl practice that one dance step till the time she gets it right is not going to help her enjoy that activity. Instead parents need to help their child find out what is it that they love and then provide opportunities for them to take it up. But he also understands that when kids don’t know what they want to do or give up on activities midway, it can be difficult for parents.
2. They are not totally immune to everything that comes their way
Citing an example from his own life, Dr Coulson shares that one of his kids found an interest in cycling. The family arranged for a bike for her. But four weeks later when she had actually practiced with other kids for a while, she realised that she was not in the same league as others. They explained to her about persistence, practice and training and she continued for some more time. But eight or ten weeks later she just said that she didn’t like it.
The child later on found what she loved but according to Dr Coulson, even when kids find something that’s interesting for them, parents should resist pushing them to perform.
He says: “Let’s tap into their strengths and into their loves and give them opportunities to do things that are going to enlarge their childhood and their experience of joy in childhood.”
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Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore