Extracurricular activities offer kids a way to interact with one another and form bonds beyond what they’d experience in school.
But if you’re thinking you have time, you may want to think again.
As early as toddlerhood, parents these days are getting their kids involved in extracurricular activities, like dance, soccer and music.
It may seem like overkill to call something extracurricular before the child starts school, but this should give you an idea of how early parents are starting kids in these activities.
Here are a few reasons why you should enroll your kids in extracurricular activities early.
Kids learn social skills
Whether your child is shy or outgoing, he or she can learn valuable social skills when they participate in group activities. Social skills may seem to come naturally to some kids, but most need to learn things like how to initiate conversation, share toys and generally get along with others.
Children can make friends
By the time kids enter kindergarten, most have had some experience with extracurricular activities. And since parents usually choose extracurricular activities that are conveniently located in their town, kids have the opportunity to make friends with their peers before school even begins. This can definitely ease those first day jitters.
The same may be true for kids who move over the summer. Getting them into extracurricular activities as soon as they move can help them make friends in a less intimidating environment than the classroom.
They’ll learn skills at a young age
Whether your child is learning an instrument, dance moves or a golf stroke, you don’t want them to fall behind the curve. If they start early, they’ll either be ahead or at the same level as their peers when they get to school. This is very helpful if your child may take a little longer to pick up a new skill. If they feel like they’re behind when they begin, they’re not going to be as likely to continue.
Extracurricular activities build confidence
Whether it’s a team sport or an individual activity, your child will learn how to master something, and that will always build confidence. It may be a kick, throw or note, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is your child understands how to work towards a goal and knock it out of the park.
Practice really does make perfect. These invaluable lessons will stay with the child for a lifetime. And as they get older, extracurricular activities can help round things out when you’re struggling to add work experience to a resume.
When the kids are young, extracurricular activities may seem to be more for the parents than the kids, but the kids are learning as they play. And when kids get older, extracurricular activities can feel a bit like a chore for the parents as they have to figure out how to get kids from one place to another. But it’s all worthwhile for the child’s development.
Another benefit of getting kids into extracurriculars early is that it keeps them active and engaged. Children and teens that are bored are more likely to fall in with a bad crowd or will begin engaging in less than desirable behavior. In conjunction with teaching kids the facts about drugs, extracurriculars will keep kids active in a positive way.
And if you’re wondering when to start, you should know that it’s really never too early. Even before your children are walking, you can enroll them in Mommy (or Daddy) and me classes to jumpstart their socialization.