5 reasons why extra curricular activities are a key to your child’s holistic development

Today, the mounting pressure of proving academic excellence coupled with technology dominated recreation has made our children lose interest in hobbies and other enrichment activities.  Parents and educators are rarely seen encouraging the younger generation to pursue their dreams and passions.  Instead the focus is primarily on scoring high grades to facilitate admission into top colleges; a sure fire means to secure a child’s future, at least professionally.  It’s always about which career is good for the child – engineering or medicine, management or finance? But we hardly question this way – should my child be a singer or a footballer?

 Remember the movie 3 Idiots? It’s about time that we draw some inspiration from that epic movie. Today, an increasing number of educational institutes, especially the ones with international focus, are challenging the realm of conventional education system and encouraging alternative activities such as sports, cookery, music, dance, martial arts, art & craft, yoga etc in their curriculum.  And you must perceive this paradigm shift as a way to foster your child’s growth.

Result oriented education forms the crux of a child’s school life and a crucial tool to equip with knowledge, but equally important are extracurricular activities that inculcate real world skills in children and blossom their personalities.   Here are five reasons why you must not overlook the significance of extracurricular activities in your child’s academic life.

1.    Provides a breather
All play and no work makes Jack a dull boy. It’s good for children to concentrate on academics but it also results in stress and boredom. Hence, there is nothing better than to engage them in extracurricular activities to give them a much needed refreshing break from studies and restore their ability to retain knowledge.

2.    Develops thinking skills
While children indulge in rote learning through books only, it leaves no place for developing thinking skills. Extra-curricular activities enhance critical thinking, especially when they are posed with various challenges and have to find suitable solutions within those situations. The children learn to apply their classroom learning to other real life situations, analyze, synthesize and evaluate the posed challenges and arrive at suitable solutions. All this is often done in fractions of seconds sometimes, for example on the sports field during a football match the child requires all of the above aspects of thinking skills to take quick decisions to place the ball in the right direction. This is just one of the range of examples that can be quoted here.

3.    Enhances social skills
These days, our children are becoming unsociable creatures. Participation in extracurricular activities will make sure they get an opportunity to meet likeminded friends, break social barriers and share a healthy bonding with them.  At the same time, they learn and respect the value of team work.  Also it will keep their mind off from disturbing behaviour and inappropriate activities.

4.    Boosts self confidence
Irrespective of the fact, whether your children like to draw and paint or play cricket, being appreciated for something other than academics will uplift their self esteem as well as mood. A confident child is better equipped to take on the real life challenges with vigour.

5.    Brings out the hidden talent
Academics is typically an acquired flair, however every child is gifted with a special talent.  But not many can truly recognize it. Extracurricular activities encourage children to bring out their talent in the limelight and give it wings in the right direction.

Integrating extracurricular activities with a children’s academic life can also help children to manage their time and set priorities and widen their perspective about the world at large. Many students who excel in non-academic field also get special scholarships and better chances of securing admissions into universities.
 
Academics and extracurricular activities go hand in hand to raise well rounded individuals and independent learners. It is imperative that we provide our children with an environment that fosters their overall personality and not just the academic growth.

- By Smita Omar

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