Sixth Grade: Choices and Stress
Your child has roughly 80 hours a week to do things. Subtract 50 hours for school, homework and chores. This leaves only 30 hours for everything else.
Parents need to guide children to participate in a variety of activities. Listen to your child's expression of interest and watch her participate in activities. This can help you determine the activities to emphasize and which should be discontinued.
Sometimes parents push achievement in scholarship, athletics or music too much. The activity then becomes so serious it is not fun. Children need to enjoy the activities.
When deciding what activities to become involved in, discuss these questions with your child:
- What do you like to do?
- Will this activity develop one of your interests?
- Will participating in this activity allow development of some leadership skills? These skills include communication and working as a team member.
- Can this activity foster healthy self-esteem? Sometimes activities can foster healthy self-esteem, but leaders, coaches or other participants can change the experience into a negative one. Think about your child's potential reaction to the activity.
- What equipment is required, and what are the financial costs? If your child wants piano lessons but you don't own a piano, is it possible to rent or borrow? Sometimes some creative solutions can be used. Remember that a child is exploring interests now and may not want to continue to expand this interest in the future.
- What is a realistic goal for you if you participate in the activity?
- How can you achieve this goal? What can I do to help?
Show interest in the activities of your child. This helps maintain the child's participation. However, parents should never get more emotionally involved in the activity than the kids do or emphasize competition more than the value of participation and learning.
Sometimes your child may not be selected to be on the team or in the play or to take part in some activity. You may be unsure how to help her handle such disappointments. Acknowledge the child's feelings. Express your feelings. For instance, tell your child that it took courage to try out and that you feel proud of her for having done so. Discuss other interests, pursue other things the child can do and help her set realistic goals. If you are positive about her disappointment, your child's self-esteem and confidence will become stronger.
Reprinted with the permission of the Iowa State University Extension. © 2008 Iowa State University Extension.
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