This is a guest post from guest writer Jenna
Finding ways to keep kids active and learning becomes tedious after a while. The kids haven’t found something they really have taken interest in, and you haven’t found anything to fit into your already crazy schedule. Just remember that it important to keep working together to find something that can work for both of you (or all of you). Participating in activities outside of the home and school is important to kids because it expands their horizons and forces them to learn to adapt to new settings. Plus it teaches them something depending on what they do.
To choose an activity that your child will enjoy pay attention to what makes him or her smile. Are there activities they enjoy doing with friends? If there is more than one kid in the house, make sure that each child has equal time for activities. I do this by letting each kid choose one after school activity to participate in. If they like the same thing it works out better for me, but if they want to do something apart I do whatever I can to accommodate individual interests. I find that activities outside of school are important because they encourage creativity, confidence, and a healthy habits. Studies have shown that kids who participate in activities outside of school actually perform better in school because they have learned to broaden their understanding of the world. In big cities like Atlanta having after school lessons for my kids is a great way to make sure they don’t fall into trouble or bullying as well. I may not like it, but it happens especially around big cities.
Music lessons for kids are a fairly common choice for parents. The instruments can vary from guitar to piano, and viola to vocals. A crazy fun fact: kids who take music lessons outside of school have been shown to perform better in math. A benefit of being near a big city such as Atlanta is that there is a wider variety of instruments and instructors available. An important lesson I learned is not to get discouraged if my kid takes piano lessons for a few months and suddenly decides he doesn’t like it. The enthusiasm for something can fade if the right teacher isn’t found or if the lessons turn into work for the kid instead of fun. I just had to remind myself that he was a kid and it happens. Time to move on to something else.
Karate classes for kids are a great way for kids to learn focus, discipline, and teamwork building skills. The beautiful thing about karate is that there is never an end to what your child can learn. My son attended karate classes in Atlanta and absolutely loved it. It gave him a social outlet, a chance to meet new kids his age with his interests, and taught him how to participate in physical activity without traditional sports. Not every kid is cut out for soccer or football. One kid in his school was a 4th degree black belt, a feat that apparently takes years of hard work and dedication. Not too shabby a thing to teach a kid in a fun environment. Sports are a great way for any kid to develop an active lifestyle.
Dance or theater classes for kids, like other sports, offer an introduction to an active lifestyle while also appealing to that part of their brain that is determined to have fun. Theater lessons are harder to find than dance classes are. If you aren’t sure who to offers the lessons contact your local theater or YMCA. If you are regular church-goers find out from your church if they have any recommendations. Atlanta has a number of great instructors for dance and theater. Dance and theater tap into the creative side of the brain, and studies show that kids who take these classes tend to perform better in reading and writing.
Non-academic lessons outside of school have been proven to improve performance in school too. With that in mind I don’t see why every parent wouldn’t want to find something their child is passionate about and give it a try. Best case scenario: they love it and do it for years. Worst case scenario: they get bored or discover they don’t like it and you move on to something else.