So, your son’s school does not offer any extracurricular activities. You
are worried of depriving your child of all that extra knowledge and fun.
What should you do?
After school activities need not be taught in a school-like environment by
professional teachers in a structured and timely manner. There is a lot
YOU can do to support your child’s academic, physical and social
development. Do not be too concerned about formal programs, as many of our
children are already over-scheduled.
Obviously, school is top priority for children. They need to go to school,
and finish their homework. They should then do their daily reading or
writing work etc. This may take about 30-60 minutes. In the course of his
daily work, your child may develop certain academic preferences and
interests. In that case, you can try and find a program in a college or a
community center that will help him and encourage him. In the age of the
Internet, information is really not a rarity. Allow him to use the net to
find more information about thing that he likes. Encouraging the child to
do independent research to gain in-depth knowledge is something that no
formal program does.
If you are concerned about the lack of social life, enroll him or her in a
club – a reading club maybe. Visit public libraries or even the theatre,
if your child is interested. It is not necessary for your child to make
friends with children his own age. A parent-child book club is another
interesting option. If you can round up a number of like-minded children
and their parents, you may well start your own after-school program.
When there is no organized group activity, look to your community. Many
children love to get involved in social problems. They get their first
real taste of suffering, charity and community help from such experiences.
Volunteering for clean-up sessions, adult education programs etc could be
a real eye-opener for your child. The lessons thus learnt are invaluable.
If physical activity or the lack of it is your major concern, enroll your
child for some dancing classes. If organized sports are impossible to get,
try to enroll her in a gym. She may find friends there and may take to the
Your child does not necessarily have to be a part of an organized group to
benefit from after-school activities. There are various avenues open in
front of you. Roping in the enthusiasm of your children in daily household
activities like cooking, cleaning etc can also provide them with a
refreshing extracurricular experience. Moreover, it will improve family