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Contemporary Parenting Questions

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Last updated on 11/03/08

Are extracurricular activities beneficial?

With the collapse of the economy and many job cuts, parents across the country are reevaluating their expenditures and cutting costs where possible. Parents may hesitate to enroll their children in extracurricular activities, thinking that they are just an added pleasure for those who can pay the price. Research, however, has proven otherwise. Kids who participate in extracurricular activities have better test scores and higher self-esteems. Children who do not excel academically can be top of the team in a sports league or sit in the first chair of the band. They learn to push their limits and face challenges head-on. It is important for parents to recognize the significance of extracurricular activities, as well as the dangers of over-scheduling children. Some kids have so many extra lessons and classes that they simply have no time to play, read, do schoolwork, or spend time with friends. Parents work with their children to create a balanced, enjoyable schedule. If a child appears to be stressed or fatigued, it may be time to cut down on some activities. Too many extracurriculars can harm children, but they are beneficial in moderation.

In the Jewish Community

Due to the laws and guidelines of the Torah, Jewish boys and girls are limited in their choice of extracurricular activities. Children generally need same-sex instructors and private lessons, causing extracurricular activities to become a very big expense. Many families in the Jewish Community tend to have large families and are unable to pay exorbitant fees for music lessons and the like for eight or nine children. Some of the bigger Jewish Communities such as Israel, London, the New York metro area, Los Angelis, Baltimore, and others, have solved this problem by creating centers for extracurricular activities designed for the Jewish children. Boys can play in an all boys sports league, take ice hockey lessons, perform in a choir, or join an art class. Girls are now able to take part in many of the performing arts, such as ballet, tap, gymnastics, and more. Jewish girl’s choirs are available in some areas, and many Jewish instructors are available for music and art lessons. Although some parents prefer that their children learn rather than play, kids of all ages need a creative outlet. An appropriate amount of extracurricular activities might even enhance a child’s studies.

Use the following links to learn more about extracurricular activities. Find out about different activities available to children and learn how not to over schedule your child.

Frequently Asked Links

What are extracurricular activities? more

Why are extracurricular activities beneficial?

Do colleges and other post secondary schools look at extracurricular activities and volunteer work?

Why is it important for teens to be involved in extracurricular activities?

Do extracurricular activities contribute to students' success at school?

Can extracurricular activities provide an outlet for children who need one?

By Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

Is my child ready to start extracurricular activities?

Can babies benefit from extracurricular activities?

How can I help my child choose the right activity?

What are some of the disadvantages of extracurricular activities?

Is my child too busy?

How can my child learn to budget time effectively?

Related Articles

Signing Kids Up for Sports
Organized sports can help kids grow in many ways. But first consider your child's personality and developmental level so that being involved in sports is a positive experience.

Choosing the Right Sport for You
If you're having trouble choosing a sport, this article can help!

Volunteering
Volunteering can be one of the most gratifying and fun things you can do. Learn more about donating your efforts.

Developing Your Child's Self-Esteem
Healthy self-esteem is a child's armor against the challenges of the world. Here is how you can play important role in promoting healthy self-esteem in your child.

Childhood Stress
Being a kid does not always mean being carefree - even the youngest tots worry. Find out what stresses kids out and how to help them cope.

Resources

School Information for the Jewish Community

Find out about the extracurricular activities in Jewish schools across the United States

Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

American Field Service (AFS)
http://www.afs.org
AFS is an international, voluntary, nonprofit organization that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world through intercultural exchange.

Rotary International
http://www.rotary.org
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America
http://www.bgca.org
The mission of this group is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.

SERVEnet
http://servenet.org
This site contains information on volunteering and community service opportunities.

Youth Venture
http://www.youthventure.org
Youth Venture helps young people develop their own opportunities for leadership through community service organizations, small business ventures, or after-school clubs.

VolunteerMatch
http://www.volunteermatch.org
VolunteerMatch is dedicated to putting you in touch with volunteer organizations in your area. You can enter the name of a group you would like to know more about, search by your ZIP code, or browse all the available opportunities.

Rabbi Horowitz does not endorse any external sites or monitor or approve content on these sites. When considering information presented here, you should consult your experts to determine what is best for you. Our sole purpose is to help you access information that Rabbi Horowitz and others have made available on the internet.

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