Last week’s family column discussed the challenges of keeping kids active and energized during cold weather months. Of course, in addition to setting aside time and creativity for physical activity and outdoor fun, there are plenty of other ways to keep your children stimulated and engaged.
Time commitment, cost, logistics, and availability all factor into deciding the best activities for your child, as do their age, abilities and interests. But the effort is well worth it in most cases. Children that take on some added activities benefit in many ways. They learn how to set goals, accomplish challenges, learn new things and in many cases, how to work well with others. It’s no surprise that college admissions offices value the applications of students with a diverse background of interests and activities.
The best way to start the process is to ask your child about some of the things he or she has interest in. If possible and practical, think about activities that mirror your child’s interests. Or look for similar activities.
It’s also okay to narrow the focus a bit, to encourage your child to select from a handful of options. For example, if your family doctor has encouraged you to increase your child’s physical activity level a bit, talk about the types of athletics your child may want to participate in. Some children love socialization and team sports. Others thrive on competition, and opportunities to focus on a skill they can excel at.
If you think your child might benefit from more socialization, or an expanded horizon, take some time to see what options may be available, between our scout troops, youth sports leagues, church youth groups and after hours activities at places like the YMCA, library and fitness clubs. If your child is reluctant to take that kind of leap, see if you can arrange for a friend to sign up as well.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options available for kids (and their parent volunteers!) in our community. Why not use this quieter time of year to lay the groundwork for some new experiences for your child?