As much as children learn from their academic and school time experiences, they learn from the after school activities they pursue. So who decides what your children will commit to and how can we teach them to follow through on their choice of commitments? The previous questions’ answers need to be agreed upon equally by both parents! As is necessary in many parenting areas, presenting a united front to your children about after school activity choice and commitment, to truly exploring and experiencing that chosen activity, are the only ways they learn the benefit of sticking to a decision and giving new experiences a chance.
For our children the local park district provided multiple classes for a reasonable fee. During our children’s kindergarten and primary school years, they tried out many classes as varied as dance, painting, soccer, basketball, acting, cooking and carpentry. Then, when they entered the third grade, my husband and I encouraged them to commit to one or two of these activities. Because their religious education classes began in third grade, they had less time for exploration and needed to decide what they liked, excelled in, and made them happy.
So far, our children have found an after school niche that makes them feel successful and enriches their selection of friends and their activity level. Now with our older children in high school, they have taken on community service projects as well.
We didn’t tell them what to do as far as choosing activities nor did we limit their exposure to multiple experiences. They learned that when one signs up for a program or class, one attends. Commitment to sticking to something is non-negotiable. After all, everything has an end, both positive and negative experiences!