My kids favorite after school activities so far...
Updated: Oct 5, 2018
Every two to three months, like clockwork, my body goes into a panic frenzy which include minor anxiety attacks followed by a brain freeze and then panic phone calls or texts to every other parent I know locally. This my friends, is a seasonal epidemic, that afflicts millions of working parents like me and occurs at the daunting prospect of finding an after school activity for their children! These symptom turn more acute in spring when we embark on the annual ritual of hunting for summer camps that are relevant to our kids ages, their and our interests and lastly to the bank!
However, this dysfunction gets better with age, I’m told, as older kids know exactly what they want to learn or ‘do not want’ to learn and so while I continue to challenge my family with the zillion options for edutainment out there, I also relish these last few years that I get to tell my children what to learn and unlearn!
So until that time, I will continue business as usual, maintaining lists of every activity that my children have attended and will attend in the next few years, the pro and cons of each one, the exact details and so on. Just kidding! Who do you think I am! The last part is however true. While I may not remember the average joes out there, I do remember all the good classes my kids attended when they were little and now as they are getting older, some of which they are continuing with, even today.
So without much further ado, here are some of our family’s favorite activities:
Soccer or any team sport
If you remember, I mentioned in a previous post that I made the mistake of enrolling my son in private sports classes instead of team sports, which didn't do much for his social skills. On the contrary, switching to soccer at our city's soccer recreational program, really helped him not only with learning teamwork, communicating with peers, staying physically fit but on the top of it he loves it! His emotions on the other hand, not so much, as it's hard for a 9 year old to understand how to deal with game losses, but he now understands that its part of the game and that he just needs to try harder the next time. Also being in a team environment and being guided by a coach who doesn't like to give up, reinforcing the values of persistence and hard work in him.
A child shouldn't have to learn to defend themselves at such young age, but mine had to, due to series of bullying incidents in second grade at school. Learning Karate at Z-Ultimate here in Kirkland, Seattle, helped him gain enough self-confidence to stand up for himself and interestingly enough it also taught him self-control to not hit back. With karate under his belt, I feel that he bounced back from the bullying incidents, a more stronger and an empathetic person.
Last but not least on the list is Math! Which kid doesnt love math, especially if it's taught in an engaging and fun manner! Right! Or so I thought until we tried around 4 different math centers here in our county. We finally hit the mark with Kumon! What I like about Kumon is the individualized attention given to each child coupled with daily homework worksheets, which reinforce concepts so often quickly taught at school and thus giving the child enough time to play with these concepts in their head by practicing problems until they become second nature. This gave my son the confidence that he could take time to master the concept without being pushed to a new topic in a hurry.
I know all kids are different but Kumon works for us and as a result their school homework or Kumon homework is not much of a struggle for them or for me now! Who can beat that!
For me and millions of other parents, after-school activities are not just a ‘want’ but a ‘need’, which are help provide enrichment for kids while at the same time easing the time burden on working parents. Having said that, I always pay attention that I don't overwhelm my children and often ask them if they are enjoying the activity, and keep in touch with their teachers to know about their progress. Needless to say, I love days when my kids rush home and are eager to teach me about a move or fact they learned or just tell me how their day went!
What other enrichment activities that worked for your child? Leave us a comment, we would love to hear from you!
Some interesting facts about extracurricular activities:
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