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Clubs for Kids: The Benefits of Extracurricular Activities

by SarahD on June 6, 2011

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Encourage Your Kids to Get Involved with Sports and Clubs

Most kids spend their free time watching TV, playing video games, updating Facebook, and texting with their friends.  If they had the option to jack electronics directly into their brains 24/7 they probably would.  But as a parent, you know that it isn’t good for your children to spend all of their time laying around and letting their devices do the thinking for them.  So why not sign them up for clubs or other activities that will force them to tune in (to life), turn on (their brains), and drop out (of their latest World of Warcraft campaign)?  In short, it’s time to get your kids off the couch and using their minds and bodies.  Here are just a few reasons that getting your kids into clubs or onto sports teams can provide major benefits.

1.  Physical fitness.  This is a biggie.  First Lady Michelle Obama is advocating exercise for kids as a way to fight childhood obesity (with her Let’s Move campaign) and you can jump on the bandwagon by getting your kids into soccer, softball, swimming, martial arts, or any number of other physical activities.  Even athletics that aren’t done in a typical team atmosphere (like gymnastics or ballet, for example) can get your children moving and ensure that they don’t suffer from the syndrome that affects the health of nearly one third of children in the U.S.

2.  Mental development.  While the internet can offer a world of information to kids that seek it out, the social networking that occupies their online hours can only take them so far.  By joining academic clubs your kids can flex their mental muscles and expand their base of knowledge.  And once they start, they’ll be motivated to continue.  It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

3.  Social development.  Clubs and sports will both allow children to interact with their peers and learn to socialize.  But even more than that, it could give them insight into the role of a socially responsible existence.  In particular, clubs like Girl Scouts and 4H can train kids to behave charitably towards others as well as care for other living beings.  This can only do good things for their development as humans and functional members of society.

4.  Communication.  Communication skills are important in life.  If your kids spend all day interacting through electronics, they may not adequately learn how to carry on interpersonal relationships in the real world.  Since job interviews have yet to be done without ever meeting the applicant, and relationships that start online generally lead to a date on the physical plane (rather than the virtual one), at some point your kids are going to have to use their social skills to win over other people.  You can best prepare them for this eventuality by arranging for them to interact in a setting where they learn, grow, and ultimately succeed.  Plus, the alternative is that they’ll continue to speak to you in texting abbreviations.  OMG!

5.  Confidence.  Any activity that requires your kids to set goals and then teaches them how to achieve them is going to inspire confidence and increase self-esteem.  This, in turn, will make them want to continue (and hopefully wean them off the electronics that have been stealing their lives).

Sarah Danielson writes for The Guestlist Club where you can find information on the best clubs in London.

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