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Extracurricular Activities are something I didn’t have to deal with much the last few years. My son played a lot of sports, however it was in High School so he drove with friends to practices. I also with two toddlers many times it was hard to make it to all the games. My daughter is now in 7th grade and wow she is so busy it seems with sports, the ASB, yearbook (yea that is more of a class but I add that with the after school time that is needed) and Church stuff going on. She does need me to take her and she wants me around with her extracurricular activities.
Dang, today’s teens are busier than ever. They have so many things demanding their attention and time. Just with school and homework alone, a teen’s day can be quite full. Now, add extracurricular activities and where does a teen find the time to enjoy it all?
Yes, being involved in activities is important for kids to learn about teamwork, to be socialized, to make friends, to develop interests, etc., but it can be overwhelming, sometimes resulting in negative consequences. Of course, this doesn’t mean that teens shouldn’t get involved in anything. Quite the contrary; teens should explore interests outside of school, but in a balanced way.
So, exactly how are teens supposed to balance the demands of school and still enjoy extracurricular activities? Let’s take a look at a few ways.
Limit the Number of Activities
It’s more and more common to see teens doing several different activities at the same time and being busy every single day. While it’s great to let them experience all the different opportunities out there, you may need to limit the extracurricular activities to one or two each semester, or even throughout the entire school year.It is OK to limit the extracurricular activities to one or two each semester Click To Tweet
There is no rule that says teens have to be involved in something every day of the week. In fact, being that busy can oftentimes end up running them down both physically and emotionally, causing their grades to slip, or even to get sick. Limiting the number of things teens are involved in will help both the teen and the parent. Remember; you’ll be just as busy as your kids with driving, recitals, being a spectator, etc.
Let your teen know that they need to put some thought into each activity. They should pick one thing that they really love, or perhaps something they’ve been very interested in trying. Then, once that activity ends, they can move onto something new. Being involved in only one activity at a time doesn’t require so much of their time, or your time, taking the pressure off. This leaves time to get things done outside of the activity, such as school work and family chores, but equally as important, time to relax.
Create a Schedule With Extracurricular Activities
Sit down with your teen to create a schedule. Start by blocking out the non-negotiable items, such as school, homework, and household chores and responsibilities. Once you and your teen sees how much time is left in a day, pencil in the extracurricular activity time commitments.
Seeing their schedule in black-and-white will clarify the reality of just how much time they have to spend on activities outside of school. It may be a real eye opener, for both you and your teen. Decisions to join a team, a club, or other activity outside of school becomes less flippant when you see just how much time you have in a day.
Also, if the desire is strong enough to make the commitment, your teen will know how much of their day will be taken up with this activity, and will be able to plan their day better. A schedule helps the teen be aware of the cost to them in time and effort, and also helps to keep them focused and on task each day.Sit down with your teen to create a schedule for extracurricular activities Click To Tweet
Be Upfront with Your Teen about the Cost
And speaking of cost, extracurricular activities are often expensive. Parents need to be open and honest with their teens about the costs involved. While this may not seem like a tip for how teens can balance school with outside activities, it does help clear the air so they will understand all the reasons for picking only one or two activities at a time. It also will help to explain why one or more activities may be off the list when it comes time for the teen to choose. Balancing school with outside activities is also about balancing the budget, and teens need to know that, too.Balancing school with activities is also about balancing the budget,teens need to know that, too Click To Tweet
Extracurricular activities are good things for teens. Of course, parents should support their teen’s involvement. However, there also has to be a balance; not only for your teen but for yourself. A teen’s busy schedule is just as demanding on you! Teach your teen how to manage their time so they can enjoy a comfortable balance between school and extracurricular activities.