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How to help your kid hone an extracurricular activity

Molly Cerreta Smith has enjoyed a career in the publishing industry for more than 10 years. As an editor of several regional magazines, she has had the opportunity throughout her career to meet many local celebrities, businesspeople, ent...

Help your child find an after-school activity

No doubt your community and neighborhood school offer lots of fun activities for kids. Check out ways to foster your kids' interest and get them involved in an activity that's right for them.


Don't push it

You can't force your child to get involved... Well, technically you can but that really won't do anyone any good. Instead of trying to get your child involved in something you want him to get involved in, allow him to explore a sport or an activity that he's interested in.

Ask yourself how far is too far to push it when it comes to sports? >>

If he wants some help choosing an activity, check out the National Association for Sport and Physical Education's position statement with questions to help you pinpoint an activity or sport that would be ideal for your child.

Lead by example

Barbara Stratton, M.A., LMFT with a private practice in Broomfield, Colorado, and author of Your Child: It's Up To You!, says if you want your child to get involved, you should get involved in your own area of interest.

She says, "When you use your own gifts and talents; when you demonstrate excellence in an area of interest; when you emphasize a fit body and mind and when you have fun, engaged in an activity with like-minded people, you are sending a powerful message to your child of what gets your attention."

Show up and support

Your job isn't over when you sign up your child. Helping your child hone an extracurricular activity involves much of your participation, advises Stratton. She says, "Your boy or girl needs you to show up to explore and understand their interests and needs, show up to provide the means (money and transportation) for extracurricular activities and show up to support and reward their efforts."

She adds, "Your child's sense of accomplishment reflected in your proud eyes means everything to him or her."

Get these tips for balancing budgets and extracurricular activities >>

Stand back

While supporting your child is very important, Earl Middleton, director of Prejects as well as director of Spiritual Athletes, suggests not being too overbearing when it comes to your child's extracurricular activity. He says, "Kids don't need heavy-handed instruction and skill development drills from their parents. They have coaches for that. Kids need parents to enjoy the game with them. They acquire skills this way much faster than by rote."

Read up on how kids benefit from organized athletics >>

Commit, don’t quit

When your child does get involved in an activity or sport, emphasize the importance of seeing it through, even if it’s not exactly what your child imagined the experience to be like.

Extracurricular activities teach kids so many valuable lessons including being accountable, being a part of a team and following through on a commitment.

More on kids' extracurricular activities

Bringing up Beckham: Raising athletic kids
The fall of youth sports
Should you let your child quit sports?

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