Extra-curricular activities are positive experiences that contribute to the wellbeing and happiness of children. Generally speaking, children who are involved in sports get higher grades in school and have better self esteem than children who don’t play sport. They are also generally healthier as a result of their increased activity and have better social networks than those who don’t participate in sport.

Children who are involved in music activities are often better adjusted, have an increased academic performance, better able to think creatively and have better memory skills than those who are not musically trained.

There are so many benefits that can be gained from getting involved in extra-curricular activities; here are some tips to ensure your child is effectively engaged in these activities.

Be a role model
Children take example from their parents, so it stands to reason if your child sees you enthusiastically practice an instrument, they will be very likely to follow. This also goes for sport, exercise and even diet

Create a supportive environment
If you have sports equipment, like tennis rackets and footballs around the house, they are more likely to be used! This is the same for musical instruments, such as a keyboard, violin, tin-whistle or guitar. Also, if we want to encourage them to practice more, you will need to limit other distractions, such as the TV, internet, games consoles and so forth. A child won’t practice the piano while there are cartoons on the television or her brother is playing games online.

Encourage your child
Look for opportunities that will allow your child to challenge herself. Find out about sports oppourtunities and teams at school. See if she would like to be part of a school choir or music group.

Social support
Individual sports and music require more effort than team sports. Being part of a team seems to increase motivation as children enjoy playing with their friends and don’t want to let them down.

Be involved yourself
Getting involved yourself will give you the chance to provide encouragement, feedback and pass on your feelings about how valuable the activity is. This provides an opportunity for parents to pass on positive attitudes about the activity. Research shows that when parents are involved in activities with their children, the children will be more likely to continue the activity even when parents aren’t with them.

The way parents involve their children in music or sports matters. Simply signing them up for a team, sport or music lessons may have a positive effect if your child remains motivated but by following these simple guidelines you can ensure that we’re more likely to see long term motivation, participation and success.