Extracurricular activities: at what age to start and how? - The360 Lifestyle

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  • Sunday, December 1, 2019

    Extracurricular activities: at what age to start and how?

    Extracurricular activities: at what age to start and how?

    Is out-of-school activity essential? How to choose the right discipline? A specialist in educational psychology gives the keys to occupy our little ones on Wednesday afternoons. 


    Classical dance, piano, tennis, theater, swimming, horse riding... The choice of extracurricular activity begins as early as kindergarten, sometimes even before. Faced with the plethora of proposals, parents are often lost. Should children at all costs be realized outside school and family? At what age do you start the first activity? How to choose without being influenced by your own desires? The answers of Claire Leconte, Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology.

    What is the role of extra-curricular activity in child development?

    Claire Leconte. An activity outside of school provides the child with an opening to a group other than that of the class or family. He discovers that he has some skills that are not necessarily developed elsewhere. By discovering its potential, the child gains confidence in himself.

    Is extracurricular activity essential for its development?

    No, this is a plus in relation to school, but do not force a child to do an activity on the pretext that it is good for him. If at home, he has the opportunity to bake with his parents, play ball or go out, he does not necessarily need to do another activity. However, if the only options are watching television or playing video games, it is better for the child to be away from home.

    When choosing the activity, do you have to go to your interests and natural abilities in order to develop them?

    No, it is best to avoid referring the child to what he already knows. Do not take him to specialize too early in a particular field. The goal of the extra-school is to allow him to know a universe to which he would not have gone spontaneously. A very physical child can flourish in something other than a sporting activity. In a theater class, he can discover that, independently of the physical discharge, there is an intellectual flow.

    Parents sometimes imagine that the child will discover a talent through his activity. Is it a lure?

    Seeing their children at the top of the pyramid of this activity, these parents put a double pressure on them, that of school and out-of-school. At the age of 7, after three years of practice, the child can become passionate about a field, but it will be his choice and not that of the parents.

    At what age can we start?

    There is no rule. You can start from a very young age with an activity like baby swimmers, for example. Practiced as a family, this type of activity helps to fight against the fear of water and spend time with parents. Later, these little ones will be more likely to go to outdoor activities. We can continue with other activities in kindergarten, but we must first listen to the child. Some will prefer daydreaming at home than running from one class to another, and that desire must be respected.

    How do we do if our child does not like a discipline in the trial class? Should we insist?

    One course is not enough to know if we will like or not the discipline. The ideal is to go to associations that offer three trials. If at the end of three times, the little troll of the feet to not go there, it is not necessary to insist. It would be better to talk with him to understand what he does not like. This is not necessarily the activity itself, but may be the teacher, the context or the environment.

    How many activities can you enroll without overloading your child?

    In kindergarten, only one week is enough. In elementary, it can do two, provided to vary the type of disciplines. If it is already a team sport, I recommend that the second activity is rather individual. The schedule is also important, we will take care not to schedule sports lessons after 18 hours.

    You alert the overactivity of children and advocate the right to do nothing. Why is it important for their development?

    I argue that the child has real moments of relaxation without always having to hurry. An extracurricular activity is not done without constraint because one must respect a schedule. But the child needs moments without pressure. For example, when he says he is bored, it means he has time for him. We must not tell him that we will find him something to do. He will realize little by little that it is also a pleasure to watch flies fly.

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