Many schools provide students with a wide gamut of extracurricular activities that help students in developing social skills. Such activities occur before and after school while some other activities can take place during weekends (Burgess). According to American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, sports provide a healthy setting for youth development (8). When young people take part in extracurricular activities, they become motivated and engaged. Extracurricular activities foster environments that can enhance personal and interpersonal development (American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 8). Although some parents are apprehensive towards the participation of their children in extracurricular activities, there are many benefits associated with such activities. Some of the benefits include improved self-esteem, enhanced educational and occupational attainment, formation of prosocial peer groups, improved interpersonal and social relationships.
Extracurricular activities raise the self-esteem of kids and make them feel worthy. Teens who have problems with developing positive self-image can take part in activities at school to enable them to find something that they can do better (Burgess). In a study to establish the relationship between involvement in extracurricular activities and self-esteem among adolescents, Kort-Butler and Hagewen have revealed a positive relationship between the two variables. The skills that kids learn by taking part in extracurricular activities foster a strong commitment to school, promote well-being, enhance prosocial behavior, and enhance occupational attainment (Kort-Butler and Hagewen 568). Against this backdrop, parents who encourage their kids to take part in such activities set the stage for kids to develop an interest which will beget the aforementioned benefits when kids become adolescents. The participation in the activities will provide kids with a way of boosting self-esteem and recognizing their value.
Kids with high self-esteem are able to overcome stressors and psychological problems associated with low self-esteem. Kort-Butler and Hagewen reveal low self-esteem is associated with problems such as misplaced aggression, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal behaviors (569). Kids with low self-esteem have increased vulnerability to psychological disorders. Active involvement in extracurricular activities enables adolescents to experience factors that enhance successful development. The researchers further reveal that extracurricular activities offer skills, help kids to build social networks, and shape self-concepts among kids (Kort-Butler and Hagewen 576). Students who take part in extracurricular activities at school have high levels of self-esteem than students who fail to participate in sports. Kennedy reinforced the centrality of extracurricular activities in building the self-esteem of students. Participation in such activities increases pride, self-esteem, and perception of self-worth among kids (Kennedy). The pride that is associated with winning in extracurricular competitions influence the personal and professional behavior of kids when they grow up.
Extracurricular activities help in developing social relationship skills which are important for the cognitive development of kids. Participation in such activities builds solid relationships among kids. Pushing kids to take part in extracurricular activities enhances their chances of successful college applications. Many colleges seeking to admit students in respective faculties consider a variety of factors such as the participation of the applicant in extracurricular activities (Burgess). These considerations are meant to demonstrate that the applicant can do something else apart from study. Such activities reveal the behavior of students, the ability to relate to others, and ability to promote sociocultural understanding within the college. For this reason, parents should encourage their kids to recognize the anticipated benefits of participation in extracurricular activities.
The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance categorize the benefits of extracurricular activities into physical, academic, social, and psychological benefits (American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 8). The activities herald positive and supportive relationships with coaches, team members, and parents. They enable kids to develop physical and interpersonal skills and competencies. While offering perspectives on the role of extracurricular activities on the development of the child, Kennedy reveals that education that transcends the four walls of a typical classroom environment is important for students (Kennedy). Such education is an extension of what the kids learn in the classroom. Extracurricular activities help in keeping students in school and result in increased educational attainment. The activities help in promoting culture and self-image and increases students’ engagement in school activities while increasing performance in the school.
Extracurricular activities allow kids to manage time well and prioritize their activities. By taking part in extracurricular activities, kids get to practice time management because they learn to juggle various tasks and commitments (Burgess). Getting involved in such activities increases the ability of kids to handle different tasks in order of priority. Taking part in extracurricular activities allow kids to establish long-term commitments. Kids who engage in a particular activity are likely to remain committed towards the activity for long (Burgess). In the process of establishing commitments in such activities, kids learn important lessons which are useful for their social and cognitive development.
The participation of kids in sports and music provide a productive use of leisure time in school. In the United States, many children spend a lot of time in leisure (Fredricks and Eccles 507). If this time is not utilized in the right manner, children are likely to indulge in activities that promote decadence and antisocial behavior. When children have a lot of time for extracurricular activities, it means that they have less time for problematic behaviors (Fredricks and Eccles 507). For this reason, extracurricular activities offer an opportunity for children to make good use of time. At the school level, kids can take in arts, sports, and school clubs.
Extracurricular activities allow kids to get involved in diverse interests. In this regard, kids are able to explore a wide range of interests in sports. For example, sports and music provide kids with a variety of interests to choose. Kids can choose various sports of interests and explore their full potential in sports (Burgess). Musical performances also allow kids to explore diverse interest in music. Participation in extracurricular activities enables kids to contribute positively to social development in the society. It teaches kids that they can develop the society in different ways rather than taking a lot of time to think of themselves.
The motivation for engagement in extracurricular activities is a good reason for parents to encourage kids’ involvement in such activities. According to Fredricks and Eccles, kids take part in sports and music since they have an interest in such activities (507). In this regard, extracurricular activities provide kids with an opportunity to demonstrate persistence, effort, and commitment as they discover their potential.
The literature on the significance of extracurricular activities in the development of children has been criticized for inadequate empirical studies. Fredricks and Eccles reveal that such literature has failed to “test the mechanisms by which extracurricular activities are associated with development” (508). For this reason, there is no logical conclusion that can be made to the effect that such activities enhance the development of children.
Response to the Objection
It is instructive to recognize that the few empirical studies, which have illuminated the centrality of extracurricular activities, have established, with reasonable certainty, the significance of the activities in promoting the social and cognitive development of kids. Extracurricular activities encourage membership in various prosocial peer groups (Fredrick and Eccles 508). Involvement of kids in extracurricular activities can influence the choice of friends for kids and enable them to shape their values and norms. Sports and music discourage association with peer groups that exhibit deviance in the society (Kort-Butler & Hagewen 578). Instead, they encourage adolescents to recognize groups that exhibit positive behaviors. In the long run, participation in extracurricular activities promotes positive social interaction and interpersonal relationships among kids in the society.
Clearly, the benefits of extracurricular activities on the development of kids cannot be gainsaid. The paper sought to persuade parents to push kids into participation in extracurricular activities. It has established that involvement in extracurricular activities provides kids with an opportunity to improve self-esteem. Active kids who take part in extracurricular activities are likely to overcome the challenges of low self-esteem. The study has shown that active participation in the activities enhances the chances for admission into colleges and universities. Participation in sports and music engages kids and reduces the chances of participating in antisocial behaviors. This should provide the basis for parents to push their kids into extracurricular activities. In doing so, parents will avoid deviant challenges that manifest in the form of drug and substance.
American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. (2013). “Maximizing the Benefits of Youth Sport.” Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, vol. 84, no. 7, 2013, pp. 8-13.
Burgess, Joy. “Extracurricular School Activities and the Benefits.” More 4 Kids, Oct. 2016, education.more4kids.info/168/extracurricular-school-activities/. Accessed 5 June 2017.
Fredricks, Jennifer A., and Jacquelynne S. Eccles. “Developmental Benefits of Extracurricular Involvement: Do Peer Characteristics Mediate the Link Between Activities and Youth Outcomes?” Journal of Youth and Adolescence, vol. 34, no. 6, 2005, pp. 507-520
Kennedy, Ron. “The Need for High School Extracurricular Activities.” Coach and Athletic Director, vol. 78, no. 4, Nov. 2008, pp. 38-39
Kort-Butler, Lisa A., and Kellie J. Hagewen. “School-Based Extracurricular Activity Involvement and Adolescent Self-Esteem: A Growth-Curve Analysis.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence, vol. 40, no. 5, May 2011, pp. 568-581