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As a parent, we all want what is best for our child. You want to instill good values, teach them structure and prepare them to be productive members of society. Of course, no one can do it all on their own, so we enlist the help of relatives, friends, teachers, and coaches to help us along the way. Another major tool aside from the home environment you build and their education becomes extracurriculars.

As one study showed, “Students who regularly participated in after-school programs surpassed their peers in academic performance. They also exhibited notable improvements in work habits and behavior.” Aside from the obvious pros of extracurriculars like keeping them active and bolstering their resume for college applications, it also teaches kids an important skill set. Involvement doesn’t necessarily mean sports either. Not every child is or wants to be an athlete. There are still plenty of other outlets from music classes to after-school programs and clubs.

In the nature of cons, it’s easy for parents to associate activities with extra work for the parents. You need to handle carpools. Your schedule becomes defined by practices, performances, and games. You have to keep track of their lacrosse sticks and soccer cleats or cello sheet music. That being said, since our kids are our first priority, here are the benefits they will experience as a result of being involved in teams and organizations.

Responsibility & Time Management

Kids involved in activities outside of school face the challenge of balancing practice and school. It forces them to develop a routine if they intend to be successful in all their obligations. As The Educator explains, “They learn how to plan out their day to include study time and co-curricular activities time, and will know how to make use of any free time they may have. Such a student is also less likely to procrastinate.” In addition, they have to be responsible for their equipment, their schedules, and their schoolwork. The earlier people learn to be responsible and accountable, the more successful they will be in the long run.

Controlled Adversity

Everyone faces adversity at some point or another in their life. Flopping at a recital or losing a game offers an opportunity to introduce children hardships on a more minute scale. They learn coping skills and humility. Sometimes kids need to be humbled. A loss can do that. As Debra Pachucki says, “Emotional development is important to a child’s ability to develop relationships, be self-confident, be trusting and empathetic toward others and manage adversity and stress in a healthy way.

Self-Esteem & Social Skills

Life requires teamwork. You need to work with your family to create a productive home. You need to work with your coworkers to successfully complete tasks. Activities introduce kids to teamwork early on. As explained by Spark, “Regardless of whether they’re establishing new relationships, or building upon existing friendships, after-school activities provide an ideal environment in which to nurture social skills and confidence.” Activities encourage students to step outside of their comfort zone and find independence. They learn how to bond over shared interested while also working with peers who may not have the same views or approach as they do. Socially speaking, extracurriculars become invaluable.