When parents sign their children up for extracurricular activities, it’s often because the child expresses an interest in a particular sport or art form. Though these activities can help children stay busy and out of trouble, they also teach kids important skills which they can carry with them throughout their lives. These would include:
1. Learning to Persevere in Times of Adversity
If a parent decides to allow their child to take music lessons, join a sports team, or attend dance classes, it’s usually with the understanding that the child will stick to the activity for a certain duration of time. The only reason this commitment should normally be breached is under extenuating circumstances, such as an illness or injury, unreasonable or abusive leadership, or an unexpected move.
Sometimes when a child realizes how much work is involved in learning a skill, they’ll want to throw in the towel. If a parent reminds them of their commitment and doesn’t allow the child to quit early, they will learn how to persevere under hardship. In many cases, the desire to quit begins to wane as the child sees the progress they’re making and adjusts to the new demands being placed on them.
If they stay with the program long enough, they can see the fruit of their efforts in the form of measurable achievements, such as earning awards or moving up in rank. This skill of perseverance will better equip children for real life. Both in school and in their future professions there will be many times when they’ll have to face either mentally or physically strenuous tasks they don’t enjoy performing. If they’ve already learned how to remain resilient and keep going when the going gets tough, they’ll be more likely to find success in their academic and professional lives.
2. Learning to Accept Disappointment
Another vital life skill young people can learn from participating in extracurricular activities is how to properly handle disappointment. Perhaps Carlos didn’t get put into the position he wanted to play on the soccer team. Maybe Stephanie didn’t make the lead role for her class’s routine at the upcoming dance recital. Sometimes the disappointment will involve the child’s entire team, such as a stinging defeat by a rival team in a championship match.
By learning to accept and make the best of negative circumstances, these kids will be prepared to respond more maturely to disappointments they’re sure to face later in life. These could include missing out on a job promotion, failing a big test in school, or dealing with unexpected problems in their personal relationships.
3. Learning to Get Along with the Group
When a child gets involved in learning a skill, they’re often surrounded by other students with similar goals. As a matter of course, many children will develop good people skills when they’re placed in these kinds of social environments. They’ll learn essential rules of etiquette, such as congratulating others on their achievements and not making fun of those who make mistakes. Positive teamwork skills will give kids a great advantage when it comes to interacting with their peers at school and in their future places of employment.
While extracurricular activities can be fun and exciting for kids, their benefits far exceed mere entertainment. So don’t hesitate to find out what activity your child is interested in trying and sign them up for a class. You’ll not only be fueling their passion, you’ll be making a valuable investment in their future.