Students need after-school activities to add structure to their daily routines. These extracurricular tasks also promote socialisation and physical activity, as well as boost their self-esteem.
Plus, the more the youngsters are engaged in wholesome activities like school clubs, athletic programs, and internships for students in Dubai, the lower their risk of developing dangerous behaviour (e.g., substance abuse) becomes.
But participating in extracurricular programs can also be stressful for children if not managed well. In some cases, they may find it challenging to juggle numerous tasks daily.
Fortunately, parents can help.
As your child’s guardian, it’s your responsibility to help him figure out how to balance after-school activities with academics. To make things easier, here are seven tips you can try:
1. Start a Schedule
Like adults, kids benefit from having an established routine. Not only does it prepare them for the tasks ahead, but it also prevents unexpected changes that could ruin their workflow.
Having familiar activities also provides comfort during uncertain times, leaving children more confident and secure because consistency makes their days as predictable as possible.
If possible, start getting your child on a schedule as a toddler. Set a routine that incorporates specific times designated for baths, meals, and naps. You can even schedule potty time if necessary.
As he grows older, your child will develop the necessary resilience to endure a gradual increase in his daily load without feeling overwhelmed.
2. Academics Come First
Prioritising tasks is crucial in maintaining the right balance. That said, you must explain to your child that while his after-school activities are important, he needs to ensure that his academic tasks come first.
A student’s top priority should be to study for lessons and get good grades. After all, the main reason why he goes there is to take classes and learn everything he can from school.
So, even if your child is enrolled in an elite golf academy school in Dubai offering both academic qualifications and sports training, he still needs to do his part in ensuring that his grades don’t suffer.
To make this happen, you must add a consistent study session to your child’s schedule. This can be first thing in the morning or the afternoon. You can also use this time for homework and other academics-related projects.
3. Help Choose the Right Activities
Students, especially younger ones who cannot make sound decisions on their own yet, need their parents’ guidance in selecting the right after-school activities.
Since these can affect your child’s learning and overall development, you must make the right choice based on the following crucial factors:
- Your child’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests
- You and your child’s schedules
You must also consider whether the extracurricular activity can support your child’s academic progress. It should also be something he enjoys doing and helps him unwind after a busy day at school.
On top of that, you should ensure your child’s after-school program doesn’t take too much time. It’s also better to stick to one activity at a time so that he doesn’t feel stressed out to the point of skipping school.
4. Ensure Proper Nutrition
Your child needs enough energy to accomplish his day-to-day tasks. That means you should never let him go to school without eating breakfast.
Aside from aiding children’s growth, a hearty breakfast ensures they stay alert and focused throughout the day. When paired with sufficient hydration, a healthy diet also powers your child’s mind and body, allowing him to perform his best at school.
Pro Tip: Offer your child balanced meals with the right amount of protein, fibre, and complex carbohydrates. As much as possible, avoid giving him sugary foods as they only give a jolt of energy that doesn’t last. This can help enhance your child’s concentration, attention span, and memory.
Here are some examples of ideal meals and snacks for school children:
- Poached or scrambled eggs with wheat toast
- Porridge with milk, fruits, and nuts
- Peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread with yoghurt
- Grilled tomatoes or mushrooms
5. Teach Good Sleep Hygiene
Besides food, your child needs enough sleep to stay energised throughout the day.
Teenagers and pre-teens need at least 8.5 to 12 hours of sleep daily for better learning and focus. However, many students under this age range don’t get even eight hours of sleep due to the following reasons:
- Video games
- Mobile phones
The key is to keep track of your child’s bedtime and ensure that he sleeps and wakes up at the same time daily, even on weekends. It also pays to reduce his exposure to screens that emit blue light two hours before bedtime, as they can alter his circadian rhythm.
6. Encourage Group Work
Some activities are best done with a group.
Studying, for example, can be more effective if your child can do it with friends. You can also suggest he take up team sports if he’s athletic. Many school clubs also have group activities that foster collaboration between individuals and help them build lasting relationships.
Having a group to belong to helps keep your child interested in what he does and provides support for his academic progress and overall well-being.
7. Don’t Forget Words of Encouragement
Offering words of encouragement is one of the best ways parents can support their children in their endeavours. These can help them develop healthy habits while striving to achieve their goals.
For this, you need to structure your statements in a way that acknowledges your child’s efforts. Say something like, “I saw how you worked hard on this, and you did well.”
It’s also good to mention his challenges and how they helped him improve at what he does. Remember: Highlight progress, not perfection.
Children, like adults, need to hear these words to push further in anything they do. This also helps maintain their interest in the task and have a positive outlook on other challenges they may face.
Support Your Child’s Future
Parents are also called guardians for a good reason: They are responsible for the child’s development. Support your child’s future by helping him balance academics and the extracurricular activities he likes to do.