Selecting extracurricular activities for your child
“What is new about this one is the intensity and the plan to sustain it. We have gone about it before, but we usually do it on a one-track basis and then leave it alone. Now we want the intensity to be created; we want people to see and feel it.”
‘DOWNTOWN CAN’T TAME’
Even as the assistant commissioner took to the streets himself, instructing the men and women under his command, directing members of the public and reprimanding others, it was clear that not all the cops were confident of success.
“Downtown cannot tame. You will never be able to tame downtown. This place has already gotten out of hand,” one police sergeant told The Sunday Gleaner.
“The people are not talking to the police. You will stand right here and hear four shots fire around the road and by the time you leave and go around there, people say you a idiot because the man walk past you,” said one you policeman.
“But if nobody says anything to you, and the man puts away the gun and is walking – not running – past you, how will you know that is him just kill a man around the road?” added the young cop in seeming despair. The following is another in a series of parenting tips brought to you by The Sunday Gleaner in association with the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC).
WITH THE new school year up and running, students and parents may be caught in a web of options as to which extracurricular activities are worth pursuing.
While there may be few research findings available in Jamaica as to the impact of extracurricular activities on student development, the United States Department of Education indicates that students who engage in such activities usually register a more consistent attendance and a stronger desire to continue their education after high school compared to other students.
For many parents, the benefits of having their children engage in extracurricular activities may not be easily accepted, however, it is extremely important to consider that the activities children engage in after school will significantly shape their future. Through these activities, values such as teamwork, individual initiative and group responsibility are learnt.
In addressing the issue of selecting extracurricular activities, director of communication and public relations at the NPSC Mikhale Edwards suggests some significant factors to be considered by parents. They include the following, not listed in order of priority:
1) INTEREST OF YOUR CHILD
For many parents, this may be an appropriate starting point. Is your child genuinely interested in playing a sport, the visual and performance arts, or are they more interested in student government? Parents should resist the urge to live vicariously through their children. By recognising the unique gifts and talents of your child, parents will be better able to channel that energy into a meaningful and focused area.
2) DEDICATING TIME
Depending on your child’s daily routine and mode of transportation, it is impractical for a child to get home at 10 p.m. after engaging in extracurricular activities. In creating a structured life for their child, parents should assist to determine when an Playing a sport is a popular extracurricular activity for many Jamaican children.
extracurricular activity becomes too burdensome.
3) COST OF ENGAGEMENT
In these challenging economic times, how much of your monthly income will be spent on your child acquiring equipment and other necessary resources in order to develop their area of interest? Will your family be forced to make significant financial sacrifices, such as cutting back on their quality of food or constantly incurring costs? If your family will be placed under such strain, it may be necessary to persuade your child to pursue another area of interest.
4) YOUR CHILD’S PRIORITIES
Through effective communication with their children, parents should receive a clear picture as to what their child hopes to achieve from engaging in a stated area of interest. Is it being used as a platform for personal growth and development, or as a springboard through which your child may receive a scholarship after primary or secondary school? Parents should provide guidance in helping children to choose activities that will fit their long-term goals.
5) IMPACT OF ACTIVITIES
The most successful people of our lifetime have been able to do few things extremely well. For some students who may be
unsure as to what their area of interest is, it is recommended that they become exposed to various activities. Sure, there may be students who are able to balance two sports and still dedicate enough time to learn how to play a musical instrument. However, not every student will have the energy level and time-management skills to engage in such diverse activities. Quality output should always be chosen over engaging in a high quantity of activities.
6) BALANCING ACADEMICS, EXTRACURRICULARS
As opportunities present themselves for students to pursue non-traditional occupations after secondary school, parents are reminded to stress the importance of children balancing their academic pursuits with their prowess in other areas. Whether or not higher education will eventually include your child enrolling in a tertiary institution, parents should emphasise the importance of their children building a steady academic foundation.
You can contact the NPSC via: Facebook: www.facebook.com/national parentingsupportcommission Twitter: @NPSCJamaica. Email: nationalparenting firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: (876) 967-7977