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Choosing Extracurricular Activities

November 13, 2013

Learn about ways to choose the right extracurricular activities for your and your child.

As your children get older, there is a good chance they will begin showing interest in extracurricular activities offered through their school or local community programs.  These activities are a great way for your child to explore areas they may not be exposed to during the normal school day.  From dance to sports to art, there are countless programs in which your child may choose to participate.  But how do you know what activities are right for both your child and for you?  After all, you will be the one responsible for paying any required fees and driving them back and forth as necessary.  Below is a list of four things to consider when helping your child select an extracurricular activity.

What is Your Child Interested In?
A good place to start when selecting after school activities is with your child\'s interests.  If your child loves to dance around the house or play a particular sport in the backyard, you might consider enrolling them in dance classes or signing them up to join a sports team.  But, don\'t be too quick to eliminate activities in which your child hasn\'t previously shown any interest.  After school programs are a good way for kids to cultivate new interests. 

How Much Does it Cost?
When choosing extracurricular activities for your children, it\'s important to consider the costs associated with them.  For example, many activities have a registration or program fee.  But, it probably won\'t stop there.  Depending on the activity, you may also need to purchase sporting equipment, art supplies or costumes.  Be sure to factor in all of the costs for which you will be responsible before making a final decision about your child\'s participation.

How Much of a Time Commitment is Required?
While there are many benefits of participating in extracurricular activities, school should be your child\'s number one priority.  When choosing after school activities, it\'s important to select something that does not require too much of your child\'s time.  No matter what activities your child is involved in, they should still be able to keep up with their schoolwork.  If you don\'t think your child will have enough time to study and complete their homework, consider choosing an activity with a lesser time commitment.

When and Where Does Your Child Need to Show Up?
In addition to evaluating the total time commitment that will be required, it\'s important to think about when and where the activity will take place.  For example, will your child need to show up before school, after school, on the weekends or a combination of all three.  Do you need to take your child to school, a community center, a local park, etc.  If you can\'t get your child to and from practice, rehearsal, etc. in a timely manner, you should consider alternative activities.

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