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Do Extracurricular Activities Keep Kids Out of Trouble?

by Jonae Fredericks

Reading and math are just a couple of the subjects that make up a student’s school curriculum. Some kids even up the ante, extending their school schedule by adding a few extracurricular activities to the mix. While participation in sports, clubs, student government and the like may pale in comparison to a student’s core studies, the character-building benefits of extracurricular activities is priceless. Not to mention, the more a kid involves himself in his school and community, the less time he spends getting into trouble.

Time for Trouble

After the school day ends, is when most extracurricular activities take place. Times and program lengths vary, but one thing that remains consistent is that an involved kid is a busy kid. The busier her schedule, the less time she has to engage in trouble. According to the College of DuPage website, if a kid is going to get into trouble, she is most likely to do so between the time school ends and the time her parents arrive home from work. Simply put, filling this unsupervised time chasm with extracurricular activities gives kids something constructive to do.

Age Matters

The supervision that extracurricular activities provide is just as relevant as the activities themselves. Since kids begin to form their own decisions about right and wrong between the ages of nine and sixteen, the more adult guidance they have during this time, the better. Participation in after-school programs enriches kids and strengthens their self esteem, making it easier for them to resist dangerous temptations. A kid that focuses all of his energy on baseball and school has little time to engage in drug and alcohol use or run with a gang.

Academics

Focus on academics is an important part of any extracurricular program. Just because kids are throwing a ball around or playing their favorite instruments, doesn’t mean that their learning is on the back burner. The University of Michigan’s website explains, many schools have specific rules that bridge the gap between kids' studies and extracurricular participation. For instance, many schools only allow students to participate in extracurriculars if they pass their core studies and display appropriate behavior in the school environment. Thus, kids place more emphasis on good behavior and making the grade, than they do roaming the streets and looking for trouble.

The Downside

It’s surprising to learn that with all of the advantages that come with extracurricular activities there is indeed a downside. The Oregon University System explains that participation in after-school activities can be overwhelming to some kids. This is especially true for students who engage in more activities than they can handle. Activity overload can actually undo all of the good that extracurricular programs provide if a kid has no time for homework or studying. A healthy balance between home, school and after-school programs is essential.

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