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How much is too much

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How much is too much?
Should your child go for the football practice 5 days a week?  Are 3 days enough? It is widespread for parents to be a little perplexed when it comes to deciding how much is too much with reference to after school activities.
They dispute that since most of the activities are fun (as different from studies), children will basically lap up these classes. But, too much of enjoyment can also make a child sick. Here is a straightforward guide that will help you come to a decision how much is too much for your child.
Your child is just beginning to learn to cooperate and get used to discipline. His or her after-school life should be simple and relaxed. One or two classes per week are enough at the beginning. Once the child settles down, look for more difficult activities like a music program.
Grade 1 (6 – 7 years old):
One or two activities per week, play dates and recreational area visits are recommended. Stay away from competitive sports activities. The child is still too young to have to be troubled about winning and losing. After the severity of a full day at school, he or she needs a healthy outlet for pent up energy.
Physical activities and non competitive games are best for this age.
Grade 2 (8 – 9 years old):
Your child is old enough to say opinions on what activities he or she needs. Sports, skating, swimming or computers - Guide him towards things he likes. Many children begin lessons on a musical instrument around this age. But, allow your child some 'alone time' during which he can relax and just do whatever he wishes.
Grade 3 (9 – 10 years old) :
Socialization begins to take center stage. Team sports are a good choice. Developing motor skills, painting, drawing etc are good too. Let the child discover areas of interests. But leave aside enough time for the family and for fun activities.
Grade 4 (10 – 11 years old):
At this age, the child will tell you what he likes. He needs to get involved in activities that will boost his confidence. This will also help him deal with stress as this is the time when social pressure is beginning to build. But, beware of the homework demon. Your child needs more time with his studies. Balancing his schoolwork with other activities is very important.
Grade 5 (11 – 12 years old):
The fifth grader is bubbling with energy and will want to do just about everything. But she or he may conveniently push studies to the background. So, close supervision is needed. Keep one or two days free for family time and other activities. Now is a great time to get your child involved in neighborhood service.
Middle & Higher Secondary school (13 – 17 years old):
Steer him away from TV. Get him occupied in activities that emphasize learning. Academic performance can be enhanced by encouraging your preteen to join clubs like the Girl/Boy Scouts program, language clubs, chess clubs etc. As a thumb rule, 16-20 hours a week of extra activity should be more than enough. But look out for signs of exhaustion.
What you select for your child and how long he should work at it is basically decided by the child's character. As a parent, you should closely observe your child and base your decisions on feedback from the child himself.