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Busy? It’s Worth It!

by Lori Sciame | April 26th, 2012 | Elementary
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When your child enters elementary school, you quickly become adept at managing not only your household chores and your work responsibilities, but you also organize  your child’s varied activities.  Although an exciting time, you may wonder if the hectic pace will be worth it in the end.  Will your child’s participation in extra-curricular activities such as soccer, dance, Boy/Girl Scouts, karate, swim, hockey, archery, theatre  – you name it –  really be worth the amount of effort and money invested?  I would like to say — of course it will!

Think of it this way; the busier your child is, the less chance he or she has to get into trouble.  There is even a school of thought that supports this idea; it’s called asset-building.  By carting your child from one activity to another, you are helping him or her to acquire important skills (or assets).  These include things such as teamwork, perseverance, commitment, and concentration.  A child who develops these types of skills learns to become confident — a trait that assists in the formation of healthy self-image.  And those children with a positive view of himself or herself will be better able to resist negative peer pressure.

I have three children, all of whom ran me ragged during elementary school and beyond.  It seemed as if we were away from home at the baseball field, the dance studio, the pool, and even the wrestling room more than we were home.  Yes, it was expensive, and yes, we had many suppers on the go, but the results proved that it was really worth all of the hassle.

For instance, my oldest wanted to take Japanese lessons.  In elementary school, he started weekly tutoring at a local college with a Japanese student.  This lead to a week-long language immersion camp at the college in sixth grade.  Then, in eighth grade, he traveled to Japan for three weeks with a teacher.  In high school he took distance education classes in Japanese for four years.  Now in college, he has an Asian studies minor, and he is currently studying abroad in Japan.  It is funny how an interest that he identified in elementary school ended up being one of the passions in his life.

Of course he was taking language lessons at the same time he participated in literally dozens of other activities.  My daughters were the same way.  They tried their hand at everything from hunting safety classes to wrestling (as I mentioned before).  With each additional activity, all three built their level of confidence, and they were so tired, I had hardly any problems with them as teens.  (The youngest is 14, but she is currently in six extra-curricular activities, so I am confident she will turn out the same).

So, the next time you feel frazzled when zooming to your next destination with your child, take a breath and pat yourself on the back.  You are doing a great thing; you are building your child’s confidence, and you just might be introducing him or her to a life-long passion.

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