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Prioritizing Elementary Activities

by Ronald A. Rowe | September 30th, 2011 | Elementary, Helpful Hints

Football. Chess club. Chorus. Band. Drama club. Piano lessons.

If you’ve got an elementary or junior high school student, you probably have a similar list of obligations. How do you prioritize among them? School work comes first. That one’s easy. I think we can all agree that the extra-curricular activities fall in line behind the required school curriculum. There can be no sports, music, or other activities if the homework isn’t getting done. But beyond that, what’s the pecking order?

We recently had to opt out of chess club tournament play because it conflicted with football. Not that we necessarily prioritized football over chess. It really was just a matter of first come, first served. Or at least first commitment made, first commitment honored. Piano lessons we pay for monthly, so we have to pay whether he goes or not on a particular week. But drama club is working toward a particular goal – the performance – so that should come first, right? Unless you consider the piano recital on the same level as the play.

The best offense is a good defense. The best way to tackle the problem of prioritizing your elementary student’s obligations is to ensure that you don’t over-commit your child. This can be tough as it requires some advance planning. If chorus is the most important activity for your family, don’t let yourself get caught in a bind just because signups take place three weeks after signups for soccer, guitar lessons, and art class.

Involve your child in prioritizing which activities you’ll sign up for. Beware of the immediacy syndrome from which most elementary students suffer. Children of this age group have a strong tendency to attach the highest importance to whatever activity is right now in front of them without proper perspective on the registration that opens two weeks from now. Careful planning at the start of the school year will help you avoid activity overload down the road.

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