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After School Activities And Elementary School

Updated on September 6, 2015

How Much Is Too Much?

When it comes to whether or not you will enroll your child in after school activities it is sometimes hard to know when it is just too much! Should your child participate in sports that require him to be at practice every week day? What if it were 3 days a week? It is not unusual for parents not to be sure when it comes to these matters. There is a common thought among many parents that since this type of after-school activities are not academic but fun, children will be on the edge of their seats waiting for the end of the school day so they can get started. There is another popular line of thinking among parents today that the more activities they enroll their children in the better parents they are.



While there may be a bit of truth in this too much of any good thing becomes a bad thing. Overload can even lead to physical illness. Let us begin by looking at different grades and where your child is in development. Thus, when they are ready for various amounts of activities.



Kindergarten:



Your child may have been in preschool for as many as 3 years by the time they enter kindergarten. With this being said, you must remember that while they have been in some sort of a class setting preschool is very different than kindergarten. When a child enters into kindergarten, they now have really begun what is referred to by many as "real" school. In kindergarten there is an adjustment your child is entering a time where there is much more structure and discipline involved. By the time the school day comes to an end, the life of your kindergarten should be less structured and care-free. One activity and no more than two a week is enough for this age. When your child adjusts to his new life in "real" school, you can think more about challenging age appropriate activities such as music lessons.



First Graders:



Your child should be able to take part in an activity one to two days a week if you wish. However, make sure you select an activity that is not competitive. Children this age may not be ready to handle "winning and losing" at this young age. Electing to schedule play dates would be a better option. It is true that after being all day at school, the child will need a means of letting suppressed energy from the day out. Activity such as those that do not include sports are best for first graders.



Second Graders:



When your child has made it to the second grade he or she is old enough to give you input as to their desires. They can tell you if they prefer things such as skating, tennis, swimming, basketball, or dance to name a few of their MANY options. While many choices are available remember to leave your child enough time that he is free to be alone and do whatever he likes.



Third Graders:



This is a time that being able to socialize begins to be of importance. With this it is also the time to get them involved in some sort of team sports. Anything that will help them with the development of motor skills. Do not forget about the art of painting and drawing. It is the beginning of letting your child find out possibly many areas of interest.



Fourth graders:



Confidence is important to build in every child. It is now that this new found self-confidence can be strengthened. Activities will assist in this area. A side benefit of activities will be valuable down the line when it comes to stresses and pressures of life. With this being said, homework is vital and you will need to allow plenty of time for studies. It is a balancing game when it comes to homework and extra activities.



Filth Graders:



In the fifth grade energy seems to be at its peak. Your child may seem like they want to try everything. With this there also is the real danger that studies will be neglected in preference of other things. Parents need to keep a close check to see that all school work in completed. Strive to allow at least two days each week for the family and other activities. Gearing your child towards giving back by community service will begin to build great character.





Middle School:



Middle school is a time of great adjustment. Pay close attention to your child in this time. Guide him away from having much time consumed in television, texting, and get him or her involved in positive club settings such as , boys and girls clubs, chess, or book clubs. Another example will be programs which have been around for decades such as The Boy and Girl Scouts. So how much of the week should be devoted to these clubs or programs as well as any other interest? The guide is to allow no more than 16 to 20 hours each week out of the child's schedule. Even with this each child is different. This is why it is important to listen to your child and watch for any indications of "burn out".



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