Extracurricular activities provide numerous benefits for our children, and it's a good idea to keep your child involved. Below are tips to help you broaden your child's horizons and find a passion or a hobby that lasts a lifetime.
Mix it UpIt's perfectly OK for your child to try a little bit of everything rather than fixate on one sport or activity. Even if your tween switches from one extracurricular activity to another, she's learning new skills and discovering things about herself. Be sure you encourage your tween to stick it out with whatever extracurricular activity she's participating in at the time. Once she's fulfilled her commitment, ask her if she'd like to sign up again, or find something new and different to do.
Do Things TogetherIt's possible for children and parents to experience extracurricular activities together. Visit museums, go to concerts, spend time gardening, or volunteer for a local charity together. By spending time together your may notice that your tween seems especially interested in a particular hobby or activity, or has a special talent that should be encouraged and fostered.
Consider Youth OrganizationsOrganizations such as the Girls Scouts or the Boys Scouts offer children the chance to learn leadership skills, participate in community events, and try a variety of activities. The variety of activities offered by these groups can keep children interested and engaged all year long.
Listen to Your TweenBe sure you listen when your tween expresses an interest in a sport, hobby, or other extracurricular activity. Sometimes parents have their own ideas about the activities they want their children to explore, but be sure your tween has input and can pursue her interests, rather than your own.
Think Outside the BoxEven if your tween isn't interested in playing baseball, he or she may follow the sport with enthusiasm. If that's the case, you could see if your tween might be interested in helping a local baseball team as a junior manager, bat boy, or coach's assistant.
Other tweens may find that they like to organize behind the scenes, decorate, or tackle tasks that other people don't want to do. If you notice your tween has a special talent or ability, try to find a way to help her use that talent. For example, if your tween enjoys decorating, she might want to consider volunteering for a theatre group to help assemble sets. If your tween enjoys organizing, she might want to volunteer at her school by helping in the school office, or by helping teachers organize their classrooms.