In our February 2017 issue, we write about the benefits of extracurricular activities; such as how it can help kids build new skills, forge friendships and minimise screen time. Research also shows that kids who participate in a variety of activities perform better at schoolwork.
Sydney-based clinical psychologist, Lisa Benjamin, thinkingspace.net.au, says there are four warning signs to watch out for to make sure kids aren't overloaded by activities. Be sure to look out for the following signs to prevent your kids from overwhelmed.
If a child is not contributing positively to the activity, as well as struggling to keep up with their everyday activities and commitments, it could be a sign that they have too much on.
If an activity becomes more about the parents’ or coach’s desire for success, a child becomes at risk of developing a ‘false self’, a self that is not who they are or want to be. They can become anxious, or might only participate for the validation rather than the actual enjoyment.
#3 Giving Up
Kids can experience anxiety and resistance because they are afraid and overwhelmed. The activity may have progressed to the next level and children are finding the new skills too challenging. Encourage them to persist, or pause until the child reignites their interest.
Sometimes children display resistance when they are feeling socially left out or the culture focuses too much on competition and not enough on inclusion of all members. Kids may also not be placed in the correct level for their skills. It can be helpful to try a different team or club which values inclusion, where there is a balance between competition and involvement. Sometimes it’s helpful for children to try an activity with a friend.
Image by: Vance Osterhout
Pick up the February 2017 issue of CHILD Mags to read the full article titled "Extra! Extra! Read All About It"!
How do you know what activity is right for your kid? We wrote about strength-based parenting here.