The Times West Virginian

August 27, 2012

Extracurricular activities good for all students

Times West Virginian

— According to Scholastic Magazine, children who participate in extracurricular activities have better grades and feel more accomplished. Depression, substance abuse and behavioral issues are at a lowered risk as well when a child participates in an extracurricular activity.

A child may feel reluctant if you try and force him to get involved in a particular sport or club. You should instead aim to be encouraging instead of overbearing.

Research the extracurricular activities available. Call the child’s school or contact community centers to find out what type of programs are available. Other places to look are athletic leagues, churches and rec centers. Gather the information and set a time for you and your child to go over the options. Keep both your schedules in mind when you research activities. You will want to look for an option that gives your child at least two days a week of downtime.

Point out his strengths. If he is really good at sports, praise his athletic abilities and suggest something where he is likely to excel. For instance, if he is a fast runner, encourage him to go out for the track team. Artistic children might enjoy a music or pottery class.

Consider a gateway class that offers a multitude of activities. If your child is unsure of what activities she is interested in, this type of class can help her decide. Centers like Gymboree Play & Learn offer a mix of sports, art and music-themed classes for preschool kids, and My Gym offers similar classes for kids in elementary school. For the older set, the YMCA offers multiple sport and leadership programs.

For more information, visit