Extracurricular activities can be a great way to help your child gain confidence, learn new skills and make friends. Maybe your child is interested in chess club, a sports team, dance class or a church group. No matter the activity, here are steps to make the experience positive and rewarding.
Play to your child’s strengths.
An activity that focuses on your child’s interests and areas of strength can boost confidence and bring a sense of accomplishment. This can help in other aspects of life—and later down the line.
Activities with fewer kids could be less intimidating. If your child is easily distracted or needs lots of attention, the activity leader is more likely to have time to give it.
Prepare your child.
Before the first day, do a walk-through with your child. Introduce the coach, teacher or activity leader. Explain the activity and any unfamiliar equipment, if necessary.
Attend the first meeting.
This can help you assess whether the activity is one where your child will have positive interactions, not negative ones. Call ahead to make sure it’s appropriate for you to attend.
If your child doesn’t want to be compared with siblings or friends, consider picking an activity that would be unique to her. If comparisons are unavoidable, brainstorm together how she could make the activity her own.
Build in exit strategies.
Kids often have trouble assessing how well they fit into an activity. Take advantage of natural breaks, such as holidays and vacations, to help your child decide whether to continue.
Extracurricular activities can be rewarding and fun for your child.