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Teens and Hobbies:  What Teens get from Extracurricular Activities
Teens and Hobbies: What Teens get from Extracurricular Activities
Mary Slattery
Thursday, October 04, 2018

Teens and Hobbies:  What Teens get from Extracurricular Activities

Sport, drama, Scouts, hobbies like craft or photography – extracurricular activities can be just about anything your child enjoys outside school. They can also be things you’ve encouraged your child to do, like language classes, music, debating, religious instruction, swimming, or paid and unpaid jobs.

Taking part in extracurricular activities can:

  • give your child a chance to try a range of activities, explore where her strengths lie and find out what she’s good at
  • give your child a sense of achievement and boost her self-esteem and confidence
  • help your child avoid risk-taking behavior by getting her involved in healthy, positive things like sport or community activity
  • promote good mental health
  • help your teen learn responsibility and develop her skills in planning and taking initiative
  • help your child learn to overcome tough times, which in turn can help your child succeed academically.

Encouraging your Teen to try Extracurricular Activities

Not all teenagers are into extracurricular activities.  But sometimes teenagers want to try something new and just need a bit of help to get started. You can encourage him to take part in extracurricular activities by providing opportunities and practical help.

If you feel your child hasn’t considered all the extracurricular activities available, talking with her can help you work out what she might be interested in. You could also ask your child’s school what clubs and societies it has.

Your child might need your help to ease into a new group of people. After all, it can be hard to turn up somewhere, not knowing anyone and wondering whether you’ll fit in. Perhaps your child has a friend who’d like to do the activity with him. 

Your child could also start an activity gradually. For example, if your child’s ultimate goal is to be on the stage with a local theatre group, she could start by working as a stage hand.

It’s OK if your child doesn’t do many, or any, extracurricular activities. He might prefer his own company or solo interests, or he might feel that school offers him all the stimulation or opportunity he wants.

Finding the right balance  

Balancing work and fun is a challenge for everyone – it’s a grown-up skill that’s important for your child to learn.

If you’re worried that your child has taken on too many extracurricular activities, there are some signs that can show things are out of balance for her. These might include her being tired, grumpy or stressed and having trouble sleeping.

To find balance you could have a look at these things:

  • Time away from home: how many nights does your child come home after 8.30 or 9 pm? What time on the weekends is he ‘out’? 
  • Balance of activities: how much sleep is your child getting? Does she have any down time? Can she get her homework done on time? Does she have time for friends? 
  • Behavior: does your child seem happy? Is he irritable? Does he seem stressed a lot of the time?

Everyone’s different, and different children can balance different amounts of extracurricular activity. This changes with age too. What your child can handle when he’s 9 will be different from what he can do at 12.

Check out this article on the value of hobbies and how you can help foster a hobby in your teen! And more...