Support children’s well-being while balancing Extracurricular activities

Families with children are becoming increasingly busy, with playdates, swimming lessons, and weekend language programs occupying many schedules. While it is fantastic that you are allowing your children to pursue their passions, it is also critical to consider your child’s emotional and physical health.


Mother helping her kid with an extracurricular activities


What is children’s well-being?

The word “child well-being” is defined in many ways by different practitioners, researchers, and policymakers. The UNICEF definition of child well-being is frequently cited as a guide, and it encompasses a wide range of factors:

The true measure of a nation’s standing is; how well it attends to its children; their health and safety, their material security, their education and socialization, and their sense of being loved, valued and included in the families and societies in which they are born. (UNICEF, 2007). 

The UNICEF definition adopts an ecological perspective to child well-being, acknowledging that all childhood events contribute to a kid’s overall happiness. In a broad sense; well-being refers to the factors that influence a child’s happiness and satisfaction, and the factors that promote growth and development.

What are extracurricular activities?

An extracurricular activity (ECA), extra academic activity (EAA), or cultural activity is a student-led activity that occurs outside of the regular school, college, or university curriculum.

There are many benefits of extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities help in the development of social skills, and the learning of how to work as part of a team to achieve a common objective. These activities allow your child to explore many areas of interest, gain self-confidence, develop leadership abilities, and improve grades while having fun!

Benefits of extracurricular activities:

  • Help in social skills and relationship-building.
  • Teach time management.
  • Allow to explore plethora of interests.
  • Developing self-esteem.

Excessive extracurricular activities that ‘dominate’ family life have a negative correlation with child development says a UK study published in the Sport, Education and Society Journal. While we all want our children to have a head start in life, we frequently overlook the importance of meaningful family time in favor of excessive extracurricular activities. Children should not be subjected to an unduly demanding schedule, and their mental health should always come first.

How to support kid’s well-being while balancing extracurricular activities?

We can support children’s well-being in different ways, beginning with teaching your child about different emotions and how to recognize them. Learning to manage one’s emotions is one way for children to develop resilience. You can accomplish it by teaching them to recognize how different emotions affect them and to control their emotions healthily. You can help your child understand and manage their emotions by doing the following:

  • Act out emotions with them; such as excited, sad, or pleased, in an emotions game.
  • Teach your child how to calm down when they are experiencing powerful emotions, such as counting to ten or taking five deep breaths.
  • Discuss the feelings that characters in literature, television shows, and movies might be feeling. Look at ___, she looks sad on this page, for example. What makes you think she is sad?

Relationship development through quality time or physical attention, such as hugs, are other strategies to make them feel safe and secure. Children who have supportive relationships grow up to be more self-assured and secure members of society, with better mental health.

Allowing your child to make choices and supporting their judgments is a fantastic way to build resilience, independence, and decision-making at home. These choices could include what they want to wear to preschool, what they want to eat for lunch, or what book they want to read in the afternoon.


Kid enjoying an activity


Parents will, understandably, be worried about doing everything possible to improve their children’s well-being. Many factors linked to happiness are out of the control of individual families. Making time to spend as a family, eating meals together, ensuring that children are physically active, limiting non-homework screen time, and ensuring that children eat a good breakfast may all have the potential to improve children’s well-being.

While there is no right or a wrong number of extracurricular activities to participate in, you should regularly check in with your children to ensure that their opinions are heard. It will ensure that their extracurricular activities continue to pleasantly nourish their spirits while also reducing the risk of stress or overwhelm. Speak with and engage with your child’s educators and support system to find more ways to boost your child’s well-being.