How extracurricular activities help your child
Did your child want to act in a play at school or learn how to play the drums? And did you say no? Extracurricular activities enrich a student's life and the lessons from the world of extracurriculars stay with children for their entire life.
You argue that the four hours your child spends at rehearsal are four hours less for studying. We can't argue with that logic. But we can try and convince you that the benefits of extracurricular activities are far more than the benefit of studying for four hours. (To be clear, we aren't against studying!)
Your children, whatever class they are in, need a break from studying: Remember that episode in The Crown when Winston Churchill is painting a landscape? If he can take some time off running a whole country, your children can take a few hours off studying too. Participating in an extracurricular activity can be a natural break, where they also learn something new. And research finds that a regular hobby can also support mental health.
Students who participate in extracurricular activities learn time management: They have to manage time between academics and extra activities. When they go to college or when they start working, knowing how to manage their time will be a blessing in disguise!
Extracurricular activities help children make new friends and broaden their social skills: When students join a band, an art class or a debate club, they work with other students and make new friends. In the working world, don't they say your network is your net worth? Extracurricular activities are a way to start them young. And working in teams is a life skill. Maybe even more important than cooking.
Extracurricular activities help students communicate with each other better: Take a school council for example. It's a team of 10-15 students who have to work together. If they can't communicate with each other properly, nothing works. And if you're still not convinced, we'll use a celebrity to illustrate our point. Shashi Tharoor was not only president of the student council at St. Stephen's College but also started the Quiz Club. Now are you telling us he isn't a good communicator?!
The skills and knowledge from extracurricular activities can be applied in different contexts: Look at Steve Jobs, for example. When he was at Reed College, he studied calligraphy for eight months. When he was designing the first Macintosh computer, he decided to build beautiful fonts into it. Words on your laptop look the way they do because Steve Jobs decided to do a course that didn't have a direct outcome at the time.
Of course, participation in extracurricular activities strengthens your child's profile when they apply to colleges. The best colleges don't just want a straight-A student. They want someone with a variety of interests and hobbies.
But don't just do it for a college admission. Imagine a world with no music, with no books and with no movies. Imagine if all you did was work and then work some more. Sounds boring right?
So put yourself in your child's shoes. Life is boring for them when all they do is study. Life is so much better with extracurriculars. It's exciting when you're learning to play a new song on the piano and get to perform it at a family dinner. It's a matter of pride when they win the debate competition and bring back a trophy.
So sign up your children for a cooking class or a debate club or a theatre class. And you can start with Openhouse clubs here!