After-School Activities – Finding a Balance

Many parents feel that it is important for children to participate in after-school activities. Certainly, sports, gymnastics, music and language classes do serve to create a well-rounded child, but overscheduling our children can become an issue.

We as parents may be hard-pressed to find a balance between home life, school life and after school activities. We want our children to have fun and be creative outside of school, but we also must step back and give them room to grow and to breathe. How do we decide how much is too much?

In Kindergarten, even if your child has attended preschool, he is just getting into the routine of "real school". In many districts, kindergarten is becoming more and more academic and structured, emphasizing reading and writing overplaying and socializing.

In addition, if the kindergarten is a full day, then your little one is ready to cut loose at the end of the day. Keep it simple. Perhaps a swimming class on Saturday mornings or one day during the week, or an art or music class.

You may even choose not to enroll your child in after-school activities at all, choosing instead to let him "hang loose" in the after school hours.

By the time your child reaches first grade, she has gotten into the "swing" of the school schedule and has matured. The concentration level has improved slightly and she may be less antsy after school is over.

Who likes sitting at a desk for six hours anyway? Either way, let your little one have a healthy outlet with a playground visit or a playdate with a classmate. Give her this time to romp and have a good time as well as expend some energy.