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After-School Extracurricular Activities

My AS son does Tae-Kwon-Do once each week. I would like him to participate in another activity as well, maybe Boy Scouts. What are good activities, and how much is too much?

My Opinion:
I would say 1-2 days/activities per week. But the disclaimer is that they must be things your son enjoys doing. Does he enjoy the Tae-Kwon-Do? If he has done it for 2-3 months and still does not enjoy it, then I think he should be allowed to stop participating, and find something else he might enjoy. If he does enjoy it, you can point out to him that he does enjoy it, and you would like for him to try something else (like Boy Scouts) too. If he does not enjoy the new thing after about 2-3 months, then I would say to stop it and find something else he enjoys. The hard part is the transition to START participating. After he settles in, about 2-3 months, he should be able to tell you whether or not he really does enjoy doing it.

I would never be able to enjoy something like Tae-Kwon-Do because I have physical limitations. But I enjoyed Girl Scouts to some extent. It was fun to do the activities, altho I was never really able to "socialize", altho from your previous descriptions of your son, he appears to have an easier time with socializing than I did. But do not think that just because a situation is "more relaxed" for socializing, that it is any easier. I found that it was actually more difficult in many respects, or perhaps just "differently difficult", because with little organization for social things, kids just avoided me, and because it was relatively voluntary for me to participate, I would probably have preferred to just stop being involved, but my mother did encourage me to continue, which was good for me in the long run I guess. The good things for me were still the organized activities that "required" the other kids to include me, especially when the adults made the groupings of kids, they knew to put me in a group with certain other kids who would tolerate me, and not put me in with kids who were outwardly hostile to me.

But if I had to do something more than 1-2 days each week, until high school when I voluntarily joined daily activities that I found I enjoyed, I would not have enjoyed any of them. So I would say to help your son choose 1-2 activities per week (1-2 days per week, if one activity takes more than one day, then just have that one activity). I do not know whether failure to participate at all will make your son "suffer for it in the long run", altho if he is forced to participate when he really does not want to, perhaps it would. But I think you should be able to find something he would enjoy.

And yes, I believe most parents today are too pushy with their kids, and do not allow sufficient "down time" for the kids to just do what they want to do, or even to do what parents generally describe as "nothing".

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