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Why so keen to get DCs into extra curricular activities?

(78 Posts)
sweetmuffins Sat 14-Mar-15 22:34:39

This is a post for exactly what the title says.

I'd like to see what other MNers' reasons are/were for introducing their DCs into various activities. Just curious.


catzpyjamas Sat 14-Mar-15 23:35:00

To extend their social circle, improve their social skills, help them develop new interests, keep them active, reduce boredom and give me three hours to myself in an otherwise demanding week

CliveCussler Sat 14-Mar-15 23:44:23

My dc's do, and have done, lots of extracurricular activities. All, with the possible exception of swimming, beavers and brownies, have been because they have wanted to do it.

BackforGood Sat 14-Mar-15 23:50:36

Are you talking about a particular age range of child?
Are you concerned about them doing any activity, or just over a certain number of activities?

We need a few more details to know whether to agree with you or defend ourselves wink

Fleurdelise Sat 14-Mar-15 23:53:20

I believe that every child has a "talent" (you can call it interest, passion) and the more activities, the more chances to discover what that is because sometimes it could be hard even for Dcs to discover their passion.

Some kids can say from an early age that they love, football, maths, science, swimming, painting or music, others can get to teenage years and still don't know what they like.

Exposing them to various activities may help them find that passion they never knew they had.

Mummify Sat 14-Mar-15 23:54:44

Pretty much like catz said - because they want to try it / or they like it, to meet new friends, to socialise, to stay active, to get out the house, to be part of the local community, to have fun!

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 15-Mar-15 00:06:21

I'm not keen to get them to do out of school activities. If it was up to me I'd like nothing better than to get home and crack open a beer however the brats have other ideas. For some bizarre reason they seem to want to more than watching cbbc and eating chocolate hobnobs.

iwishicouldsing Sun 15-Mar-15 00:08:57

Ha ha ha at the thought that all there is to do outside of school hours is watch TV unless you are at an organised activity.

sweetmuffins Sun 15-Mar-15 00:11:06

Backforgood, I'm just really keen to see why parents seem to pay so much attention to extra curricular activities. You often hear that it's extremely common for parents to ferry their children round many times a week and pay so much for these activities.

I'd just like to see why parents are willing to spend hundreds of pounds a year on these activities.

allears589 Sun 15-Mar-15 00:11:27

To give him interests and friends outside of school.

Also to allow him to enhance and enjoy skills/things that he seems to be good at eg drama

I view swimming lessons as essential for young children

sweetmuffins Sun 15-Mar-15 00:12:50

A lot of people say swimming is essential as a life skill.

sweetmuffins Sun 15-Mar-15 00:14:56

I hear some people say that downtime is just as important as organised activities.

NickiFury Sun 15-Mar-15 00:18:11

I taught my child to swim. I think swimming lessons are a total con.

However my kids do a few other activities, judo, fencing, swimming, guitar, keyboard, football, indoor climbing, swimming, gardening club at school.

Why? Because ds is home educated so we have lots of time for them and they're good for socialising. Dd is at school but still does a few activities just because she wants to.

To keep them fit, improve coordination, develop social skills and confidence, give them experiences they would not get in family activities. They don't carry on eith anything unless they want to. Also to give them a chance to develop hobbies and interests that they can pursue into teenage and adulthood, better than spending all their evenings hanging out in the streets bored which is what I spent a lot of my teenage years doing. I agree that downtime is very important too.

phr1 Sun 15-Mar-15 20:30:16

Agree with all of the above. I think you don't have to spend £££ if you can't or don't want to. There are cheaper ways of introducing kids to activities like subsidised music lessons at school for example or take them swimming yourself. Agree lessons are a waist of time and money, my kids always hated the swimming lessons but love swimming. Some parks do free football on weekend mornings. Fit kids are happy kids.
But also sitting at home after school and doing some craft at home or reading ..(or even watching a bit of telly...) is equally important and enriching.
So pick your battles and make sure the are happy with what they are doing.

MargoReadbetter Sun 15-Mar-15 20:37:26

Mine do football (DS), gymnastics and drama (the DDs). They want to do it and I have the time and money to accommodate that. I'd rather laze about but I don't feel it's a huge sacrifice.

CliveCussler Sun 15-Mar-15 21:23:06

Swimming lessons are a waste of time if you expect your child to learn to swim through lessons alone. half an hour a week in a group lessons is never enough. The kids who do well are also going swimming with their parents (or whoever) for fun on a regular basis.

I taught my kids to swim and then put them in lessons to perfect their stroke, while still taking them swimming on a weekly basis myself.

A lot of kids come out of lessons too early and then swim like a whisk for the rest of their lives.

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 15-Mar-15 21:27:59

Because they were very keen to do said activity, and it's within our budget.

For DS2, there is the additional benefit of improving his social communication skills (he has ASD).

ReallyTired Sun 15-Mar-15 21:34:38

Clive Not all of us are able to take our children swimming regularly. I could not take my daughter swimming for 8 months because of a broken thumb. If she had not had lessons then she would not had the chance to go swimming. My daughter learnt a lot in her swimming lessons, but some children start lessons before they have enough concentration to learn anything in a group.

My children do extra curricular activites to gain confidence, learn new skills, improve physical fitness and make up for the lack of music/ sport/ drama in the national curriuclum. Extra curricular activites are a way for children to persue an interest and decide what they learn.

whattodoowiththeleftoverturkey Sun 15-Mar-15 21:42:57

Swimming because I believe it's a life skill and I dont feel confident enough to teach her myself.
Ballet because she enjoys it, it's good for her coordination and her confidence.
Brownies so that she can experience activities with other children (she is an only), develop social skills and make friendships outside of school.
If she wants to try anything else I will encourage her, but she'd have to give one of the above activities up as I feel that downtime and having friends over to play is also necessary.

houseofnerds Sun 15-Mar-15 21:47:03

When they were tiny, to get me out of the house and fend off depression.
A bit bigger, to improve their physical and social skills,
Even bigger, because they actively enjoy said activities, meet a whole new group of friends for each of them, and are learning to be community minded citizens who care about other people.

Two out of the the three of mine have specific disabilities or additional needs which mean that hiding at home isn't a great choice for physical or mental well-being. Dd2 does a number of sports and dance because it reduces her physiotherapy burden (call it community-minded of me to pay for it so that you don't have to) and a few others because she needs to be used to meeting people and getting on with life independently. It also means that despite her disability, she gets to take part in competitive sports without knowing she will always come last...

Ds would hide in the basement and play video games otherwise (ADHD with ASD tendencies). Dance and swimming give him the opportunity to exercise (ADHD bit) and the Magic-The Gathering clubs mean that he gets to actually socialise with like minded nerds (the ASD bit).

Dd1 (the only NT kid in the portfolio) dances, skis, swims. She keeps very fit, and the dance is brilliant for enforcing the discipline that's required to maintain her school grades. It also rather handily has provided her with a means to earning money as a stand-in dance teacher, and she's on her way to life guarding.

The girls are both in guiding, as it provides them with all female spaces should they need that, and instils leadership and independence. They also choose to work for the various awards in said organisation, which teaches them goal setting and instils a work ethic to reach said goal. It has also provided dd1 with her emergency first aid cert, which is a bonus for babysitting gigs...

Ds left scouts (his choice).

Honestly, I'd keep them locked up and save my money if I could, it costs me a fortune. But so far we have moved very frequently (every year or two) and extra -curricular are a fantastic way to meet new friends when you are uprooted periodically. They are thriving. I don't force them to leave the house with a pitchfork. I would rather they interact with other people and learn more about their communities, and the opportunities therein. I don't prize a hermit like existence, although I would enjoy it myself... grin

I'm happy with what they do, they are happy with what they do. I am happy that other families do nothing and stay home. Horses for courses. But extra-curriculars have kept this family both mentally and physically healthy through all sorts of upheavals, both literal and metaphorical.

Opopanax Sun 15-Mar-15 21:55:12

I've never sent my child to any extra-curricular activity which she hadn't specifically requested to go to herself. All the things she's done have been of value in some way (ballet, recorder, violin, Stagecoach, tap, musical theatre, piano, art club, science club, puzzle club, writing club, French, the list is endless) and they were all things she liked and enjoyed. She wanted to do these things and I was fortunate enough to be able to allow her to try them (money and time haven't been an issue). I don't really understand the question, tbh. I sent my daughter to her extra-curricular activities because she asked me to and she enjoys them. Isn't enjoying something a good enough reason to do it? I'd like her to have more downtime, really, but she wants to be on the go and she wants to do things. I am happy that she's a girl who knows what she wants and asks for it.

RueDeWakening Sun 15-Mar-15 22:00:01

My big 2 do swimming, my oldest also does choir after school, chess one lunchtime, music lessons and Brownies.

Swimming is non-negotiable. My parents have a pool in their garden and I want my kids to be safe around it. I can't take them swimming as all our local pools say 1 adult can only be responsible for 2 under 9s and under 2s have to be 1-to-1, I have 3 including a 1 year old and DH works most weekends so going as a family isn't that convenient.

The other stuff my oldest does because she's interested in it. Music lessons are through school and paid for by her pupil premium so the only cost to us at the moment is replacement reeds. Brownies is cheap as chips for what it offers, and she loves it. Chess and choir are school clubs that she signed up for herself.

UniS Sun 15-Mar-15 22:00:12

It all started with a toddler dance class to encourage him to take instructions from someone other than me.... He still dances 7 years later because he enjoys it.

Then again he was dragged up around a cricket club every weekend for the first 4 years of his life, so not surprising DH was keen to get him going to cricket youth training when he was old enough, Boy loves the game with out being brilliant at it, as do his father and grandfather.

The bike racing grew out of " look there is poster for a kids bike race, do you fancy a go" , turned out the child had a bit of a talent for going fast and young racers don't grow up safe racers if they don't train.

UniS Sun 15-Mar-15 22:03:21

School clubs he decided for himself he wanted to do , or not do, one I thought he would like he chose not to do as he had too many other things on that day.

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