It sounds like a daft question, doesn’t it? But in fact it’s something that many parents and childcare professionals have to wrestle with. There are so many choices from music to sport, from art to languages. But which is best for your child and are there any downsides to after-school activities?
Is my child doing too much?
If your child is tired every day – and if you’re tired as a result of getting them from place to place – maybe you’re all doing too much? Children have to study at school, get homework done, socialise and get a good night’s sleep. If your child is overloaded with extracurricular activities they might be simply exhausted. You, or your nanny, might notice an extra degree of whininess. Difficulty getting up in the morning and falling asleep in the car as you travel from place to place. These can be signs that your child is over committed.
Is my child under-stimulated?
Conversely, if your child drives you crazy with constant complaints of boredom, and nagging for you to stop what you’re doing and come and play. They might benefit from more organised, after-school activities. To be honest, we rarely hear this kind of complaint. Elite Nannies are superbly equipped to overcome boredom and to create fun but structured activities to keep children stimulated. However, some children benefit from group activities like football or ballet school. Others require expertise that even the most experienced nanny can’t provide, such as violin masterclasses.
Which after-school activity is best for my child?
The answer here is easy – the one they enjoy! However, while a child who is old enough to have an opinion should be listened to. It’s really important to also talk to your nanny and your child’s teachers to see what might stretch your child. For example, a child who’s good at art will always enjoy playing with paint and paper. But a well-planned after school activity in sculpture or even computer assisted design might open up a whole new dimension of their favourite hobby.
There are also ways that you can benefit your child’s overall development. A shy child may do well in small groups where structured lessons help them contribute and build their social skills at the same time. Extrovert children can improve their concentration levels at chess clubs and still get enough local stimulation to keep them interested. Children with dyslexia and dyspraxia benefit particularly from children’s yoga or tai chi sessions.
Extra-curricular activities that everyone can benefit from
Our nanny candidates tell us that it’s just as important to consider the commute and the timing as the activity itself. Neither you nor your child will be happy if you have to schlep across town in the rush hour. And no matter how exciting an activity. If it takes place on an evening where something wonderful is happening at home. Like the night Dad finishes work early or the grandparents come to visit . You, and your child will be torn. So consider the whole family when choosing after school activities and you’ll find everybody gains.