Seen as an extension to educational programs, some research shows a positive correlation between a child’s involvement in extracurricular activities and their academic achievements. These activities help a child develop various skills, such as leadership, sportsmanship, self-confidence and discipline, the ability to handle competitive situations as well as build self-esteem. All of these skills can later be applied by a child in a “school setting”. So what are parents to do? The teachers still remain firm on their decision not to continue extracurricular activities within the schools so it now becomes the responsibility of the parents to fill in the gap. With countless studies and news reports being brought to our awareness about child obesity on the rise, concerned parents must now find time within their busy day to schedule time for active sports for their children. Parents now dash from work to their child’s school, home for dinner, rush to get their child ready for their sport; uniform, equipment and off to the activity. Before they know it, their back home sending the little ones to brush their teeth, get their pajamas on and saying goodnight, leaving thoughts of “Where did the day go?” in their head. In trying to gain additional time for themselves it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of stopping for “Fast Food”, but this defeats the purpose of the activity their child is participating in and a good healthy lifestyle. Well parents, we have some good news! Some new studies suggest that “Family Time” can be used to fill in this gap. A Study of more than 3500 children found that quality family time and meal times together before the age of 12 are the single strongest predictors of better achievement and fewer behavioral problems. Family time becomes more important than school time, studying, sports, creative activities etc. when it comes to performing well and adjusting socially. Proven to positively contribute to a child’s academic success, parents should be attentively involved and frequently communicating with their children. Even with teens, with one of the largest studies ever carried out showed a strong association between regular family time and academic success, psychological adjustment, lower rates of alcohol and drug use, early sexual behavior and suicide risk. So encourage family time and let your children decide on an activity or two to do together this week during March Break. Go to the park, play a board game, let your child help you to make dinner.
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