How Afterschool Activities Benefit Kids

“I’m bored,” my 11- year-old daughter grumbled as she collapsed onto the couch. It was a rare unscheduled moment. I cringed as I know what can occur when she has a spontaneous second. At the age of 3, I assumed she was quietly playing with toys only to discover the entire wall covered with crayon. We are happier now she’s in art classes.

My daughter prefers to be busy, which is why she participates in multiple extracurricular activities, ranging from sign language to swim team. There are many benefits to having scheduled activities for children. Research by National Center for Education Statistics shows that students who participate in afterschool activities have better school attendance, higher levels of achievement, and aspirations for higher levels of education.

Better Academic Performance
Research shows that students who participate in extracurricular activities perform better in school. Douglas Reeves studied data at a high school and found students who were in three or four afterschool programs had dramatically better grades than those who participated in none. A study by the College Board found high school extracurricular participation is correlated with significant higher SAT scores

More Adaptable
When children participate in more than one activity, they experience multiple coaches or teachers with different rules and expectations. They have the opportunity to meet kids with a range of personalities and interests. These interactions teach children how to be adaptable to various types of people and situations.

In the book Resilience at Work, authors Salvatore Maddi and Deborah Khoshaba discuss the importance of being adaptable and how adaptable people thrive-even in changing circumstances.

It is a skill that is beneficial in both school and work setting.

Time Management
It is possible to have too many activities so manage time wisely. Always be cognizant of your child’s energy level. When my daughter needs to skip an activity once in a while, I let her.

When she wasn’t enthusiastic about going to gymnastics anymore, we decided not to sign her up for the next session. Most importantly, make sure your child is happy, healthy and thriving.

Social Skills
Children gain social skills from supervising adults and by interacting with peers. They also learn teamwork in activities such as theatre, sports, and robotic clubs.
My daughter wants to attend her book club meetings even if she hasn’t read the book- she loves the social interaction with peers that follows.

Less Screen Time
Common Sense Media states that many teens spend more than nine hours per day playing video games or watching TV. When kids participate in afterschool activities, they have less time to watch TV or play video games because they’re busy learning new skills.

Decreased Risk of Obesity
According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, obesity has affected about 12.7 million children and adolescents for the past decade. When kids participate in activities such as dance, gymnastics and swimming, they reap the health benefits of being active and physically fit. A child involved in any club or an afterschool activity they will be more active than sitting at home “plugged in”.