From music to martial arts, education beyond the classroom keeps young minds engaged.
Educators and parents are in agreement: It’s not good for children to be glued to the TV every afternoon. They take on a glazed-over and dazed appearance when staring at the tube too long. Eventually, inertia sets in, and kids become whiny from lack of true intellectual and physical stimulation. Even during after-school hours, child development experts believe that the way children spend their time is vital to their overall development.
Enrichment is the answer. You’ve heard the word again and again. You know there are options available for every age, interest and temperament of child. So how are you supposed to sift through the choices?
Draw From Your Child’s Talent
Learning to recognize your child’s individual talents is the first step toward enriching his experiences in those areas. It’s important to encourage your child in as many experiences as possible so he can discover where his interests lie. All children have natural gifts which will reveal themselves sooner or later.
Visit Programs Before Enrolling
Take your child to visit the programs that interest him. You’ll both get a much more in-depth understanding of the class, teacher and other students by actually attending. Don’t make an assumption based on something you’ve read. Get as much information as possible.
As much value as there is in extra activities, there is a fine line to be managed: how much is enough? Take into account your child’s individual stamina. There should be plenty of time for homework, chores, playing with friends and daydreaming.
Is your child really enjoying and benefitting from his extra activities? Ask him about it, and note if he is ambivalent or eager to return each time there is another class. For as much as he may be learning, it’s equally important for him to have fun.
Susan Day is a mother of four and editor-in-chief of this publication.
Widen Your Child’s Horizons
- Assemble an arts and crafts box at home and fill with a variety of materials.
- Create a costume trunk and encourage your kids to perform a theatrical show for the family.
- Provide opportunities for your children to have meaningful experiences. Take them to museums, the zoo, nature programs, and other unique events offered locally.
- Schedule regular family outings to live concerts, theater, music, dance, art exhibits, sporting events and other programs.
- Encourage your child to pursue his interests and be a cheerleader of support.
- Spark interest in your child’s sense of self-discovery by signing up for an art class together. Your enthusiasm and interest will be contagious.