What do you do when your kids are bored with their after-school activities?

I’m sure this sounds familiar. Your kids start off a new activity with their hearts filled with excitement. they can’t wait to go to skating lessons, or guitar, or karate.

Then – and it’s usually after you invest in a new uniform, instrument, etc – they suddenly have no interest in going anymore.

So what happened?

This can be both frustrating and confusing for parents, but there are several steps you can take to save your sanity.

Step One

As a parent, your first step should be to listen and investigate. Do not jump to conclusions just because little Johnny is whiny about going to karate.

Start with asking your child what he or she does in the class. Try to uncover what has suddenly changed (it could be that the class is becoming more challenging, and your child is embarrassed to admit they need help).

Then ask the teachers the same questions and compare notes. You may stumble upon some important clues.

Usually, children start out participating in an activity thinking it’s all fun. But when they realize that they cannot just hang out and that they need to follow rules etc, they begin to resist. Your child may feel stifled if the program is too structured. If the discipline is too rigorous or the activity too painful (like a karate class) some children balk.

Step Two

Use your own instincts.

Does the program feel like fun? Would you want to attend it yourself? Are they offering enough motivation to keep the child interested?

The teacher-to-child ratio is also an important factor. Children need attention. If the number of teachers is just enough to handle a class, it is possible that your child is not receiving enough attention.

Step Three

Sit down and talk with your child.

Children try to avoid problems they cannot solve.

If there are no perceivable problems with the class and the teachers, perhaps you need to have a chat with your child.

If your judgment says that the place is good and the activity engaging enough, then it’s time to work with your child.

More often than not, social pressures may be at work here. Does your child have friends there? If she is lonely or miserable because of the lack of friends, help her find a friend. If she finds a friend, she will get more involved in the activities

If your best efforts do not pay off, and your child still resists that fantastic guitar classes, then it’s time to let go. Shift your child to some other program. If he or she still retains interest in guitars, you can take it up after a few months.

Never force the child, especially when it comes to extra-curricular activities. Since they are ‘extra’, they must bring in extra happiness and extra enthusiasm too.
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