Adolescence and teenage years is a key time in your child’s lifetime where the decisions and actions they take become precursors in shaping their overall personal and career development. One of the best avenues to supplement growth in these developmental years is through after school activities. After school activities offer access to structured opportunities that are critical for helping young people grow into well-rounded, successful adults.
With an overwhelming number of extracurricular activities to choose from, parents like you might be in a dilemma of making the best choice for their child. In this guide we'll walk you through the process of selecting the perfect after-school activity for your teenager, taking into account their interests, time commitments, personal goals and more.
Why After School Activities Matter for Teens
After School activities offer a structured environment that fosters personal growth. They provide opportunities for your teens to explore their interests, develop valuable skills, and build a well-rounded profile that will serve them in the future. Apart from the clear academic success, after school programs are successful in social and emotional development.
How to Choose the Perfect After School Program
1. Understanding your Teens Interests and Passion
The first step towards helping your child choose the right after school activity is understanding their inclination. A good starting point is to observe your child’s natural inclinations and talents as these can be strong indicators of their true passion.
Engage in direct and non judgemental conversation about your child’s likes and dislikes. It is important to create an open and supportive environment where they feel comfortable expressing themselves. Imposing any of your own preferences may hinder your child from flourishing in their area of interest.
Go a step further and try to empower them to take ownership of their after school pursuit. Support them in their research, provide information resources as required and allow them to explore as many different activities as they like.
2. Exploring Different Types of Activities
Due to the demanding schedule of young students, selected after school activities selected must be relevant to their wants and needs. The popular choices or categories of choices include sports, arts, academic pursuit and social interest.
Choosing from the myriad of sports (individual vs team sports; competitive vs non- competitive) involves evaluating the environment your teen thrives in.
Team sports encourage collaboration, communication, and camaraderie, while individual sports foster self-discipline, independence, and personal achievement. Non-competitive activities focus on skill-building and personal development, whereas competitive sports offer the thrill of competition.
Art is a powerful outlet for self expression and personal growth. Explore artistic endeavors like painting, drawing, sculpting, as well as performing arts like theater, music, and dance. Consider enrolling your teen in various classes and workshops to explore and hone their artistic talent.
Performing arts such as theater, dance, music foster confidence, expression, and stage presence helping them find their creative voice and develop valuable skills in teamwork and self-presentation. Visual arts apart from providing an outlet for self-expression and creativity, they encourage fine motor skills, attention to detail, and a keen eye for aesthetics.
For academically and intellectually inclined teens, academic pursuits offer a stimulating avenue for growth with a well-defined path toward career exploration. Some existing after school activities belonging to the domain include STEM clubs and competitions, debate teams, and academic decathlons.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) activities through clubs and competition allows students to explore these academically rewarding fields at an early age.
Leadership pursuits such as position within the student council and other leadership roles like editor for school magazines demonstrate your child’s commitment to their interest and their ability to bring positive changes to the community they are part of. They foster decision-making, teamwork, and communication skills and are considered particularly important at the time of college application.
Volunteering and Community Service
Volunteering apart from being the best opportunity to help their local community also teaches kids valuable life skills, which are easily transferable to future jobs and careers. Participation in community services and volunteering builds a sense of civic duty. It instills values of empathy, responsibility and above all acts as a medium to serve and contribute to the community
Food banks, old age homes, community garden are few places to seek for volunteering
3. Consider Skill Development through After School Activities in the Context of College Admissions
While choosing after school activities for teens, pick diverse interests and pursuits that make up a well-rounded profile for college admissions. This requires striking a balance between providing guidance while allowing teens the freedom to choose. Identifying diverse after school activities to develop leadership, creativity, problem solving skills while aligning with your teens natural interest sets them on a path towards success in their chosen field.
While striking this balance may seem tricky, Crimson Rise has been helping students define their passion while aligning them with their future aspirations. Rise's unique profile building program for students aged 11-14 helps discover best-fit extracurriculars, define passions, and develop academic and soft skills.
Some standout extracurricular activities for college application part of Crimson Rise program are:
- Leadership Roles
- Foreign language
4. Seeking Guidance from Academic Experts
Schools often provide a wealth of resources and information about available after school activities. Use these resources for active exploration of interest and seek out guidance from school counselors who can provide personalized advice based on your child’s strengths and interests.
Consider seeking advice from trained academic experts who have walked the same path. You can get in touch with our experts at Crimson. Our Crimson rise strategist will work 1:1 with your child to develop customized trajectory aimed at their personal and academic growth.
5. Managing Time Commitments
Finding balance between academics and extracurricular activities is paramount. As parents, consider setting realistic goals and encourage your kids to take breaks and engage in other activities that help to relax and recharge.
Help your teen create a manageable timetable that allocates time for academic responsibilities, after school activities leaving a considerable amount of downtime.
As parents your responsibility is to empower your teen to make informed choices. Guiding them through the process of selecting the right after school activity is about identifying their strong interest, nurturing them, honing their skills and above all listening to their needs and wants.