Richmond, BC Martial Arts, Kids Karate, Kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu
Which After School Activity Should I Choose for My Child?
Choosing an After School Activity for Your Child
Parenting comes with all sorts of questions and important decisions. I remember when my first daughter was born, I was all over the internet asking questions about what’s next, what she should be doing developmentally and how I can be a better parent. This is happening less frequently as my kids get older but I still find myself online when I am trying to understand their different stages of development and growth. As each of my kids aged out of the baby stage, I began searching for an after school activity that they could focus on and start. While many believe these activities become crucial to what college they could get a scholarship to, I was just looking at what would be fun and what my kids would enjoy. For me, it was also important that these activities contribute to their personal development. It’s important that parents understand that an after school activity supports their educational growth and emotional, physical and mental development and isn’t just there so you can brag about how many activities your child is in.
Which After School Activity is The Best for my Child?
So, when asking yourself this question, you must also ask yourself many other questions. An after school activity should be an extension of your child’s needs and reinforce any desired outcome you are looking for your child. Ask yourself these questions before picking an after school activity:
What do I want my child to get out of this activity? For me, I look at what would be life savers. Without a doubt, I looked at two (swimming and martial arts). These are not just an after school activity but can eventually save my child’s life. After that, I also looked at what would support their educational and emotional development. Each child is different and different activities are necessary depending on your child’s learning style and temperament.
What does my child need? Look and listen to your child. What is it that they need to become more independent and stronger (both mentally and physically). Where are they developmentally and what do they need support in doing?
What does my child enjoy doing? When your child plays, what do they gravitate towards? What do they have fun doing?
What does each after school activity say is the benefit of their program? Each after school activity should feature a section of their website or pamphlet that discusses the benefits or their program. Testimonials are best so you can see how this activity has changed their lives. Listening to other parents talk about how a program has positively affected their child’s life is always great.
You Make the Decision for the After School Activity
Whatever you choose, be careful not to let your child be the decision-maker. Yes, you should take their opinions and listen but ultimately, it’s your choice. You will be taking them to this activity and your active support and commitment are, at this point in their lives, more important than theirs. As young children, they will change their minds day to day. It’s normal for them to not want to go and stay at home and play, but when it becomes a habit and not even a question, they will just do as they have to (just like school). Finish what you start with your child and teach them to persevere through whatever time commitment is offered. After that, they can move on to something new but you will find that true growth and development comes from commitment, perseverance, and discipline.
Don’t overwhelm your child with too much activities. It’s often the case that parents want their kids to do everything so they can narrow down their activities. Or some parents have their kids doing so much that there is no time left for school, family quality time or just plain old playing or being bored. Kids need downtime, too and it’s important that you schedule that time as well.
Martial Arts as an After School Activity
As I stated earlier, two activities I always recommend are swimming and martial arts. Both would eventually lead to the development of life-saving abilities. Swimming is obvious but martial arts is important in that it leads to so many benefits that would be life-saving in so many ways. Besides that, your child doesn’t need to be the superstar of the team or be gifted to play. Every child in the martial arts gets to participate, is part of the greater team and feels part of something special (these qualities cannot be found in most competitive sports or activities). As a cooperative sport, martial arts as an after school activity offers the following benefits:
The Development of Self-Discipline
Teaching Self-Respect and Respect towards others
Emotional Strength and Will
Self-Defense and Self-Awareness
A No-Quit Attitude
Positive Social Environment
Positive and Empowering Role Models
Positive Lifestyle habits
These are just a few of the benefits that I have personally seen when watching my students grow in the martial arts. All the kids who have committed to the martial arts have developed into strong, positive and self-assured leaders. I have examples of them assisting in the school every day. If you were to choose martial arts as an after school activity, you won’t be disappointed.