Know when to say no - planning extra mural activities for your children

In this day and age it’s easy for both parents and children to have busy lifestyles. In fact, in some cases, all members of the family often find themselves overloaded with responsibilities and things to do. If you’re working with an au pair to keep the family systems running smoothly while you take care of your daily business and chores, it’s best to ensure that your child’s extra mural activities are planned in advance. It’s important that you make logical and reasonable decisions regarding which / how many extra mural activities your child is involved in and that you don’t over-stimulate them.

Factors that affect these decisions include:

  • Child’s age
  • Personal interests of your child
  • Energy levels of your child
  • Free time available to your child
  • Cost of extra mural activities
  • Where the activities are hosted (will safe and reliable transport be required for your child?)

While it’s not crucial to include your child in the decision making process when choosing extra mural activities, they do have an active interest in the selections and it helps if they are keen. All sport and cultural activities that your child is involved in will contribute greatly to their development especially in terms of learning commitment, team work, health and fitness, sportsmanship, fair play and of course, social interaction.

Keep in mind that while extra mural activities are important for your child at school, they can be just as important and useful at home. In fact, when working with an au pair, you can capitalise on extra murals at home in the form of cooking / baking, arts and crafts, free play, physical activities and more. What makes this ideal is that your au pair will be involved and ensuring that your child gets the personalised attention that he / she deserves and needs.

Below are just a few tips on how to go about the selection / decision making process when it comes to choosing extra mural activities / participation:

  • Very young children should be encouraged to participate in many sports rather than focusing on a specific sport. Only at primary school level will they decide their preferences and interests.
  • Make sure that your child is aware of the dedication and commitment that an extra mural activity demands. There is weekly attendance, looking after sports outfits and also forming friendships with team members.
  • Older children should be encouraged to make logical decisions regarding the time that they have available. Children in senior primary school or high school will be able to determine what their schedule will allow. Consult with your au pair and child on time management before making decisions.