Be Extra Smart About Extracurriculars

These five tips will help you keep your child's extracurricular activities in check.

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How Much Is Too Much?

Soccer on Monday. Hip-hop on Tuesday. Art on Wednesday. Piano on Thursday. Swimming on Friday. Extracurricular activities are important for children to expand their interests and discover hidden talents. But there comes a point when a kid can be over-scheduled and not have time to just be a kid. How much is too much?

1. Choose Wisely

Your child does not need to do everything. Repeat: Your child does not need to do everything. Carefully select activities that he enjoys and excels in. He will have more fun and be more likely to stick with it. Some children enjoy playing the violin. Others enjoy softball. Some like gymnastics. Pick, commit, and enjoy!

2. Know What You're Signing Up For

Find out exactly what you and your child need to do to participate in an activity before you enroll. How much does it cost? Do you need to buy or rent equipment? Does it require you to travel far to participate? Make sure the activity is something you and your child can commit to and follow through with.

3. Team Up With Other Parents

Carpooling between activities can be tricky when you are running late from work and juggling making dinner with picking up your first-born from soccer. What is a parent to do? If your kid's activity conflicts with your schedule, see if there is a safe, supervised place where he can wait for you. Find a neighborhood carpool or a trusted friend to help out with driving.

4. Don't Be A Stickler

Support and encourage without being too critical. It is not uncommon for a child to lose interest in an activity as he grows older. Encourage your child to continue to explore his maturing interests and abilities by trying new activities. Forcing your child to stick with an activity can make it seem more like a chore than a hobby.

5. Take Time to Breathe

If you have not already, schedule down time to relax. As priorities and responsibilities evolve, your child's schedule should change too. Homework and studying become more important as your child advances in school. Make sure your kid has time to complete homework, eat dinner, get sleep, and spend quality time with family and friends.

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