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For many children the end of the school day heralds the start of a wealth of after-school activities. From sport and music lessons to dance, art and drama, there are so many different things on offer it is possible to find something to interest even the most difficult-to-please child.
After-school activities can introduce children to a world of subjects and interests that are never touched upon in the school curriculum.
But they can also help a child develop a deeper interest in something they might only have had time to sample during the school day such as sport, art or drama.
Enrolling in a club or participating in a team activity can also help to build a child’s confidence, self esteem and social skills, which can have a knock-on effect in other areas of their lives.
However, although there are great benefits to taking up after-school hobbies, it can be easy to get carried away so that children simply have too much to do.
Most adults are well aware of the need for a good work/life balance, but because children often seem to have boundless energy, it is easy to forget that it is equally important for them to relax and unwind.
Children, especially the younger ones, need time to absorb and process all the things that they have learnt during the school day.
Taking on too much outside school hours can mean that class-work gets less attention than it should and it can also mean that homework gets rushed or even forgotten.
If you are concerned that they are over-stretching themselves, try to limit the activities they take on to just one per term. This will give them the chance to really concentrate on one thing at a time and still leave plenty of time to relax and chill out.