Choosing Activities for Your Children

As your child grows into a preschooler, you may be considering involving them in a variety of different activities. Choosing activities for your children may be fun, but how do you know for certain that your child is old enough and mature enough to begin participating in activities or lessons? Many preschools have begun enrichment programs that they can incorporate into your child’s day at preschool. These activities are often an additional fee, but they are also a good opportunity for your child to get out of the daycare and into the world where they have to interact with other children. Most preschools have age limits that are set on the different activities. This can make it easier when you are choosing activities for your children, but you still want to ensure that your child is mature enough to begin these activities. Many children are able to succeed and learn between the ages of 3 and 5. Other children, however, are still not quite mature enough to focus and listen for a long period of time, especially when that time is highly instructional. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you begin choosing activities for your children: • Has my child experienced an interest in any activities?o If a child is truly interested in a specific activity, they are more likely to be successful in that area. For example, if your child has a true interest in gymnastics at a young age, then they are more likely to succeed and continue this activity throughout their life. • Will these lessons benefit my child from a health or safety point of view?o There are several different activities that can help children gain new skills in life. For example, swimming lessons are excellent because they are good exercise and they can help children learn to be comfortable in water earlier. They are also good because your child will no how to swim should they fall into water on accident.
• Is my child focused enough to sit still and follow instructions?o If you have a child who can’t sit still long enough to watch a movie with the family, then you are most likely going to find that your child is not quite ready to sit still and listen to instructions. They are also more likely to not want to follow instructions as well. This means that piano or some other sort of focused environment is not best for your child. However, a highly active activity such as karate or gymnastics may be perfect for them. • Does my child have time and do I have time?o We have to face it, we are busy and in some families the children are even busier. If your child is able to take karate or dance lessons through the daycare then this is something to take advantage of, especially if you are a very busy parent. But, when your children get home they will need time to relax and unwind as well, so it is best if they are not swept off to scouts or soccer practice quickly afterwards as well.
• How long are the lessons?o Different children have different focus times. Some can’t focus for more than 15 minutes, while others can easily focus for an hour or more. When choosing activities for your children, be sure to consider how much time they are going to have to concentrate and focus and then determine whether or not your child is ready for that type of situation. • Are lessons short-term or ongoing?o There are a variety of lessons your children can enjoy that are short term. Swimming lessons are a perfect example of this. Other lessons are often progressive and on-going. The level of interest that your child has in their activity should definitely be considered. If you are not sure how interested your child is going to be, you may choose to participate in a few lessons and re-evaluate their interest level afterwards.

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