Sending your child to school for the first time can be a daunting exercise, but it is also an exciting milestone for both parents and the child. One of the things few of us are prepared for is the onslaught of flyers and pamphlets for extra mural activities that you will receive in your child’s bag over the next few weeks and months.
They start arriving just as soon as you think you have this school thing down; usually around the second or third week of school. It can be overwhelming. The list of extra mural activities is seemingly endless. You will be offered Manners For Minors, judo, swimming, pottery, art, drama, cooking, ballet, RuggaKids, KinderMusik…
All of the flyers have pictures of happy kids taking part, reasons why your child needs to enrol and a conveniently placed enrolment form. Just when you complete the ballet form, you’ll get the drama form… It can all get be very confusing.
So what do you do? How do you decide which extra mural activities your child should do? How many should they be doing?
The number of activities you chose should be age appropriate
Your toddler doesn’t need to be overloaded with structured activities. They still learn largely through play and this should be your focus. Ask the school what they do with the children as part of their normal curriculum, some schools do enough activities already.
From 2 to 3 years old, they should not be doing more than 2 activities a week. They should ideally be fun activities, like pottery. You can push children aged 4 to 5 to up to 3 activities a week, with most of them being done at school. Anything more than that really puts pressure on you, especially if they’re done outside of school. They will also tire your child out.
Keep in mind the type of child you have. Some children can handle the busyness, but others do not cope well with it.
How do you decide which extra mural activities you choose?
Talk to your child. Find out what they would like to do. Some children will want to do everything, try to narrow it down to their top 3. There may an activity that is a non-negotiable, for many it is swimming lessons.
Once you have an idea of which activities, check when they are scheduled. Can you fit them in? Are some of the same days? This will make it easier to decide what you are going to choose.
Another thing to consider is what activity does your child need. Judo is recommended for children with low muscle tone, swimming is a great exercise for those kids with excess energy. If your child is receiving Occupational Therapy chat to their therapist to see if they have any recommendations.
Chat to the various coaches and instructors
Especially if it something you would like your child to continue with as they get older. Not all coaches are equal. You need to make sure that you agree with the way your child is being coached. If you would like your child to do swimming but do not feel like the school’s chosen swim school is not the right fit, choose one that works for you.
Do not feel pressured into signing up for everything
Just because your son’s friends are all doing Rugga Kids does not mean your child has to. Most activities done at school are done away from the rest of the class, so your child will not be made to sit and watch while all his friends do something he is not allowed to. Make the decisions that will work best for you and your child. You can also decide to join the activity in the new term or in the new year.
Extra mural activities are an opportunity for your child to learn something new and have some fun. Don’t overload yourself or your child with too many activities that aren’t completely necessary.
If you have any questions or concerns about your little one’s at school or there is something you would like Laura to share or write about, send us a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Schooled with Laura.
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