Educators say children who take part in extracurricular activities tend to do better in school. Your child might seek out after-school activities on his or her own. Others need encouragement. It is up to parents to take a role in searching out activities for their children and encouraging them to take part, but forcing a child to take part in an activity may lead to resentment or resistance. Parents must be careful not to live vicariously through their children by forcing them to take up an activity to fulfill the parent's own desires. Parents can make extracurricular activities more attractive in several ways:
- Give your child choices. Present several options, such as basketball, choral or instrumental performances, computer club or volunteer work, and let the child choose. It will give him or her a feeling of having some control. You also may learn more about your child's interests.
- Find out what others are doing. If other children your child's age are taking part in an activity, your child may be more willing to try it.
- Once children take part in activities, it is important that parents show an interest, too. You can do so by attending your child's athletic event, concert, play or science fair or by helping in the classroom.
In addition to schools, find out about activities offered by local recreation departments, the YMCA or YWCA, scouting and 4-H organizations, your church or the library. Make certain after-school activities do not interfere with homework responsibilities. If your child's grades begin to suffer, consider whether your child is involved in too many out-of-school activities.