Extra-curricular activities are perfect for boosting your child’s confidence and providing them with important new life skills.
Keeping them active and engaged and away from the lure of the dreaded phone or computer screen, there are plenty of activities to suit most interests.
From dancing to gymnastics and martial arts, here we look at five extra-curricular activities and why your child will love them.
Why are extra-curricular activities important?
Encouraging your child to learn new skills away from school is important for their development, especially if they lack confidence.
Trying something new is always a little nerve-wracking for both kids and adults but is a great confidence booster, especially if they keep up with their activity and develop their skills.
From learning how to swim properly, to competing in gymnastics competitions and putting on shows at dance class – whatever activity they chose, your child will learn about self-discipline, hard work and making new friends.
They might also excel at their chosen activity or develop a new passion that they’ll take with them through life.
Many children love dancing, whether they are extroverts that exude confidence, or introverts that use it as a way to express themselves.
Building both confidence and coordination, dance is brilliant for children at any age, but it can be great to get them started when they are young.
Putting on dance shows and performing in front of other people can help instil early courage and determination so that they don’t fall prey to stage fright when they’re older.
With so many dance types available, including ballet, jazz and tap, encourage your child to try a few before you officially enrol them in regular classes.
Swimming is a basic life skill that everyone should have. Not only good fun, more importantly, it also helps ensure safety in the water.
Like dancing, getting children started as young as possible is brilliant for self-development and confidence.
Swimming movements come naturally to toddlers so aim to get them started in the baby pool from a young age to hone those motor and movement skills.
If your child is a little older but hasn’t yet learned to swim, or would like to develop their skills, then there are usually plenty of swimming classes and clubs available at your local pool.
Children have lots of energy and often love nothing more than to flip, somersault and roll.
Gymnastics is an excellent way for them to put all that energy to good use and learn the fundamental skills that can progress into more challenging moves.
Under-fives can start early, enjoying classes that focus on play. Lessons are fun, social and rewarding with children learning how to roll, jump, and move upside down.
As they get older, children of school age learn skills such as forward and backward rolls, handstands and cartwheels and may choose to compete and develop their skills even further.
#4 Martial arts
Bruce Lee, the legendary martial artist and actor famously said, “The only purpose of martial arts is to protect yourself, not to hurt another”.
Martial arts are an ancient method of training the mind, body and spirit to act as one. Those that practice might strive for harmony but also learn effective self-defence techniques.
Children who get involved in martial arts enjoy many benefits, including fitness, respect, self-discipline and confidence and can begin practising these skills from a very early age.
Most martial arts originated in Asia and include karate, kung fu, jiu-jitsu, aikido, tae kwon do, judo and Muay Thai, with lots of classes available at local gyms and community centres.
#5 Guides and Scouts
Guides and scouts is a great way to meet new friends and keep busy with activities aimed to develop qualities such as self-reliance, resolve and a desire for self-learning.
Research has also shown that guides and scouts are likely to have better mental health in middle age, perhaps down to these qualities fostered at a young age.
Attending the guides or scouts may be one of those extra-curricular activities that helps build resilience against common stresses in life, or increase a person’s chances of achieving more in life, so that they are less likely to experience such stresses, according to the researchers.