As a parent the big wide world of extra curricular activities can be both a blessing and a pain in the arse!! The free activities that are held after school can give you an extra 45-60 mins at home which are great (as long as you don’t have other children, who you have to hang around with) but when they start to want to do activities that cost lots of money, involve travelling and often waiting round in full, hot, smelly waiting areas it can be a pain. Especially if they only want to do said club because their friends are.
However, saying that I think it is important for the children to get involved and try new things. Being part of a club helps to teach new skills, if it’s a sports club, then there are health benefits to exercising. Being a member of any club encourages commitment, dedication and interaction with others. These skills alone, are very important to guide a child’s development and prepare them for different settings as they get older.
I was one of those children who always wanted to be part of a club and took part in many sporting teams, inside and outside of school, as was Stuart, with both of us playing competitive sports and still being involved now so it is no surprise really that our children are the same. As you may know if you follow my Instagram, both of the girls Brogan and Madison are competitive gymnasts. This means training regularly, attending competitions and improving each time. I primarily took brogan to gymnastics classes when she was 5 as I thought it would be cute and she would enjoy it, never in my mind did I think she would still be doing it at 16 years old and competing at a very high level, having attended the British Finals for tumbling 3 years in a row (well 4 but she broke her elbow and had to miss one). Madison has obviously grown up watching brogan and trying to do whatever she does, that she wanted to start gymnastics and did so and is showing the same if not more talent than brogan (she started younger) and now Livvy also goes to toddler gymnastics and she looks pretty good too, even for a nearly 3-year-old!! Wil is also very dedicated to his sport which is Brazilian jujitsu, he was awarded student of the year at the end of 2018 and continues to train hard, even getting up to go to a 6.30am class before school!! When Wil was younger, we naturally tried him at football, with Stuart being a former footballer and now a manager and with both of us enjoying watching and following our favourite teams passionately, but it just didn’t suit him. He was actually quite good, but he didn’t enjoy it and that’s the main thing, we did not want to pressure him into anything and would never make them attend a club they didn’t want too.
I have been lucky and avoided what most parents dread and that’s swimming lessons. They have them as part of the curriculum at their school so a bit lazily thought they would learn properly then, we have constantly gone swimming since they were all babies so they are all self-taught and very confident in the water, so never felt the need for extra lessons and with the time spent doing gymnastics we couldn’t fit much more in. They are all very confident in water, which is great as I’m not the best!
Although it can seem a pain and you may feel like a taxi driving to and from clubs, I think it’s really important for them to get involved and try these clubs and find a hobby they can enjoy. As mentioned earlier I still play netball now at the ripe old age of 37 and love it, I have made life long friends through playing and hope that my being committed to a sport the children saw this as they were growing up and gave them the determination to do the same. This can be achieved in many areas whether it’s a sports team, a drama group, art club, whatever they choose, but that is the vital ingredient, they must enjoy and want to do it.
Let me know what you think about extra curricular activities and attending clubs, do you think its good for children or do you avoid them like the plague??