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How Much Is Too Much

enough? It is common for parents to be a little confused when it comes to

deciding how much is too much with reference to after school activities.

They argue that since most of the activities are fun (as different from

studies), children will simply lap up these classes. But, too much of fun

can also make a child sick. Here is a simple guide that will help you

decide how much is too much for your child.

Kindergarten:

Your child is just beginning to learn to interact and get used to

discipline. His or her after-school life should be simple and carefree.

One or two classes per week are enough at the beginning. Once the child

settles down, look for more challenging activities like a music program.

Grade 1:

One or two activities per week, play dates and playground visits are

recommended. Avoid competitive sports activities. The child is still too

young to have to worry about winning and losing. After the rigors of a

full day at school, he or she needs a healthy outlet for pent up energy.

Physical activities and noncompetitive sports are best for this age.

Grade 2:

Your child is old enough to voice opinions on what activities he or she

wants. Sports, skating, swimming or computers – steer him towards things

he likes. Many children begin lessons on a musical instrument around this

age. But, allow your child some ‘alone time’ during which he can unwind

and just do whatever he wishes.

Grade 3:

Socialization begins to take center stage. Team sports are a good choice.

Developing motor skills, painting, drawing etc are good too. Let the child

explore areas of interests. But leave aside enough time for the family and

for fun activities.

Grade 4:

At this age, the child will tell you what he likes. He needs to get

involved in activities that will boost his confidence. This will also help

him manage stress as this is the time when social pressure is beginning to

build. But, beware of the homework demon. Your child needs more time with

his studies. Balancing his schoolwork with other activities is very

important.

Grade 5:

The fifth grader is bubbling with energy and will want to do just

about everything. But she or he may conveniently push studies to the

background. So, close supervision is needed. Keep one or two days free for

family time and other activities. Now is a great time to get your child

interested in community service.

Middle school:

Steer him away from TV. Get him engaged in activities that reinforce

learning. Academic performance can be improved by encouraging your preteen

to join clubs like the Girl/Boy Scouts program, language clubs, chess

clubs etc. As a thumb rule, 16-20 hours a week of extra activity should be

more than enough. But look out for signs of burnout.

What you select for your child and how long he should work at it is

basically decided by the child’s temperament. As a parent, you should

closely observe your child and base your decisions on feedback from the

child himself.

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