5 Ways to Motivate Your Kids to Participate in Extracurricular Activities

Kids and ipadElectronic games, television, and other modern technology can be huge distractions for children today, especially after they come home from school and finish their homework. With all of the modern distractions, it can be a difficult task to motivate your kids to do more than play video games for two hours every evening. Now that winter weather is upon us, getting your kids to go outside and participate in an outdoor activity can prove to be especially difficult. If your child doesn’t seem interested in participating in extracurricular activities like sports or other physical activities, these tips may help you motivate them to put down the iPad and go have some fun.

  1. Find an activity that your child enjoys. This is the most important motivating factor for getting your child to enjoy an extracurricular activity because if they’re completely uninterested, it really won’t benefit them in the long run. Try taking them to explore an activity they might be interested in. For example, if they are huge Lions fans take them to a football game.
  2. Make sure they try. If your child tries to give up on a new activity after one attempt, you should encourage another them to try again. Do your best to cheer them on so they can feel confident to give it another go. In the end, teaching them that trying and completing something you start, are keys to being successful.
  3. Don’t force it. If your child signs up for a sport or activity that they end up not enjoying, don’t force them to continue after the season is over.Participating in something that makes them miserable can backfire and they can end up resenting the activity.
  4. Don’t get too involved. Supporting your child is important for their self-esteem, so attending games and events can certainly help, but try not be too involved. Giving your child feedback that is too technical can become discouraging and make them feel like they aren’t good enough. Let the coach/teacher do his or her job and let them guide your child to be successful. If you do want to give your child some advice, make sure to have a conversation with the coach/teacher first to be sure that the advice you give is similar to what the coach/teacher is saying. Being on the same page will make it easier for your child to understand the advice.
  5. Understand your child’s limits. Everyone has a different attention span and level of physical activity that the body can handle. Pushing too hard or too frequently can turn a child off from an activity. An extracurricular activity shouldn’t take up all of a kid’s free time or vacation.

Extracurricular activities are an important aspect of growing up and building up confidence in your child.  Just remember, once your child finds something that’s right for them make sure to encourage them so they can continue to grow and improve.

How do you encourage your children to participate in extracurricular activities? Share your success stories with us below.

Photo credit: Thijs Knapp

This blog post is part of #MIKidsCan, an initiative created by Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan to promote positive change in the health and well-being of Michigan youth. To learn more about the campaign, visit http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/mikidscan

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