As we reach the middle of spring, you may find that both you and your child are trying especially hard to balance academics and extracurricular activities, like baseball, softball, yearbook, and arts clubs. Of course, extracurricular activities happen throughout the year, but now that the weather is getting nicer and summer vacation is in sight, it’s even more difficult for some students to maintain that balance. Adding to the challenge is that as classes wrap up, end-of-year projects and finals ramp up. In this blog, we’re going to look at how you can make sure that your child doesn’t get overwhelmed by it all.
Why are extracurricular activities beneficial?
We all understand why schoolwork is important, but sometimes it’s difficult to see the benefits of extracurricular activities. Compared to serious pursuits such as academics, do extracurricular activities offer more than just fun, which can always be postponed if needed? Actually yes, they offer your child quite a bit.
Extracurricular activities provide opportunities to acquire:
- Structure to after-school hours
- Friendships with like-minded people
- Lessons on teamwork and competition
- A sense of responsibility and self-esteem
- Invaluable role models
However, as we said above, there are times, especially toward the end of the year, when participating in extra activities can be overwhelming. That doesn’t mean that your child should quit these pursuits. Instead, we have some tips on how to recognize if your child is struggling to keep a balance and how you can help him or her.
How can I recognize if my child is overwhelmed?
You know your child better than anyone, so determining how they are doing will come natural to you. To help guide your decision, TeachHub suggests that if you notice any of the following signs, your child may be taking on too much:
- Sudden drop in grades
- Lack of motivation
- Poor attitude in the activity or in school
- Making excuses to skip practice or meetings
- No desire to participate
- Physical illness when it's time to participate
If you think there may be a problem, there are some things you can do to help.
You and your child can find balance.
The very first thing you should do is find out if your child really enjoys the activity. Forcing him or her to do it will not benefit anyone and will cause a lot of stress for everyone. Once that’s decided, it’s time to look at scheduling.
The key to being able to balance everything is time management. Calendars (print or electronic) are a great help for setting up your weekly schedule. First, mark off all the extracurricular activities, project due dates, and designated study times. Be sure to review each day with your child to ensure that there is time for everything he or she needs to do. Do not forget to schedule in some downtime, too, because everyone, no matter what age, needs a break sometimes. If the schedule cannot accommodate every necessary activity, it may be time to determine if an extracurricular one should be eliminated.
TeachHub offers other great suggestions for managing schoolwork and fun activities including teaching your child to:
- Set priorities
- Use travel time to study (for example, rides to clubs or games)
- Use the weekends to work ahead
- Use study halls and extra class time to work ahead
- Avoid procrastination
With a little organization and determination, your child can excel in classes and extracurricular activities — even in the last few months of school.
What are some of the ways you help your child achieve the right balance between schoolwork and activities? Let us know in the comments.