By Marli Naidoo
Academic performance enjoys most of our attention when we consider our children’s future success. However, if our children focus wholly on academic performance, they can begin to feel stressed. So much pressure at a young age can sometimes cause children to begin feeling depressed and resentful towards their studies.
Extramural activities provided children with a release valve. By taking up activities such as karate, art lessons, cooking lessons etc. they are afforded the opportunity to explore interests they are passionate about, and can discover new strong points.
When a child knows where his talents lie it will boost his self-confidence. It will also help him develop a strong self-image.
A study on extramural activities that focused on children during the transition from mid-child years to early adolescence found that children between the ages of approximately nine to thirteen who participated in extramural activities, experienced higher levels of belonging with their peers, which they carried with them into adolescence.
A good self-image and a healthy feeling of belonging contribute to the promotion of mental and psychosocial health.
Extramural activities help children to develop social skills which they will need as adults, and offer opportunities for leadership, cooperation and peer interaction.
It can also enable children to communicate with others different from themselves, which will expand their world views.
In many cases extramural activities take place in groups. Your child will learn there are others with the same interests, and how to communicate with like-minded individuals. Socialising with young people with the same interests can even help him develop friendships that can last a lifetime.
These activities can also help children develop positive habits that they will carry with them through life. These habits include time management, community involvement, the development of structure and routine, perseverance and drive.
Of course there is also the good news that completes the circle: teenagers who are involved in extramural activities do better academically, and stand a better chance of completing matric.
BU Journal of Graduate Studies in Education, Volume 5, Issue 2, 2013: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1230758.pdf
Hammond Psychology: https://hammondpsychology.com/how-extracurricular-activities-help-child-development/