Choosing an Extracurricular Activity


Searching for a new activity for your child? Jeanne Ruckert Lovy, assistant vice president of young children and their families at the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston, shares her tips for finding the right activity for your child.

 

Sign Up for Classes

 

“Classes are a great way for children to try new things,” she says. “Preschool children love to develop and demonstrate mastery and competence, and activities involving new skills, such as sculpture building, ballet, soccer or LEGO® robotics, are great ways to help children feel confident and proud.

 

“If your child is interested and flexible, it’s fine to try many activities, but it can also be meaningful to stick with one or two and let your child grow through them with a group of friends or a favorite instructor,” Lovy continues. “Either can be beneficial. If something is going well, don’t feel you have to abandon it because you feel children need variety. Alternately, if something is not going well, don’t force your child to repeat it; find something new.”

 

Lovy also recommends that you start by thinking about your child’s strengths and learning style before signing up for an activity. “Consider your child’s temperament and the ways he or she best approaches new situations,” she says. “For example, the open gym class that worked well for your neighbor’s child might feel overwhelming to a child who is sensitive to noise. Start with a smaller class-size or a targeted instruction class like yoga, martial arts or dance, and then work up to a larger group. Alternatively, if your child is very active and requires a lot of support in a group setting, an intense sit-down class like computers or watercolors might not be the best fit.”

 

Another consideration is your child’s personality before deciding between group or individual activities.

 

“Try both group and individual activities to see what feels best for your child,” Lovy recommends. “Determine your goals before making a selection. If your goal is to help your child in social settings, seek out a group experience with an experienced and kind instructor. Individual activities are great for building a skill or competency, like swimming, but less effective for group interaction. They can also be good for a child transitioning to his or her first class experience.”

 

Lastly, look at the costs of the activities. Make sure you ask about all fees, including equipment, recitals, uniforms and anything else the activity may require.

 

Avoid Doing Too Much

 

While having your child participate in a variety of activities is great, Lovy warns about filling up your family’s schedule with too many activities. “Even though choices can be difficult, it’s sometimes better to choose just a few things to focus on, rather than have your child scheduled every afternoon with a different activity,” she says. “Downtime and family time are important, too.”

 

Ready, Set, Prep!

 

After enrolling, prep your child for the new activity before the first meeting or lesson. “Share your excitement about the activity without overselling it,” Lovy says. “In most cases, the point of classes is to have fun and gain new skills, so those are things you can mention to your child. Post photos on the fridge, printed from the website, as a visual reminder of what’s coming up. If there is high anxiety, it’s a red flag to consider an alternate class that would be a more comfortable fit. Once a class has begun, make sure to show interest in what your child is doing. Ask about the class, celebrate successes and be as sensitive as possible to issues if they arise.”

 

 

Cheryl Crosby is senior editor of Boston Parents Paper.

 

Check out the next page for where to go for activities in Boston and Around Massachusetts. 

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Where to Go

 

Cooking Classes in Boston and Around Massachusetts

 

• Create a Cook, createacook.com

 

• Heirloom Kitchen; heirloomkitchen.com

 

• Eurostoves; eurostoves.com

 

Dance & Gymnastics Classes in Boston and Around Massachusetts

 

• All That Jazz Dance Studio; allthatjazznewton.com

 

• Exxcel Gymnastics and Climbing; exxcel.net

 

• Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre; ballettheatre.org

 

• Massachusetts Gymnastics Center; massgymnastics.com

 

• Paulette’s Ballet Studio; paulettesballetstudio.com

 

• Tony Williams Dance Center; tonywilliamsdancecenter.com

 

Music Classes in Boston and Around Massachsuetts

 

• All Newton Music School; allnewtonmusicschool.com

 

• Brookline Music School; bmsmusic.org

 

• Children’s Music Center of Jamaica Plain; jamaicaplainmusic.com

 

• Community Music Center of Boston; cmcb.org

 

• Keys for Kids; keys-for-kids.com

 

• Longy School of Music; longy.edu

 

• Music Together; musictogetherma.com

 

• New School of Music; newschoolofmusic.org

 

• Piano Playtime; pianoplaytime.com

 

• Sprouting Melodies; sproutingmelodies.com

 

• Yamaha Music School of Boston; ymsboston.com

 

Sports Classes in Boston and Around Massachusetts

 

• ´╗┐Alpha Martial Arts Academy; alphatkd.com

 

• Appalachian Mountain Club; outdoors.org

 

• Boston Rock Gym; bostonrockgym.com

 

• Guard Up! Family Swordsmanship; guardup.com

 

• H2K Happy Healthy Kids Fitness Studio; h2kchildrenfitness.com

 

• My Gym; mygym.com

 

STEM Classes in Boston and Around Massachusetts

 

• Center for the Advancement of STEM Education at Bridgewater State University; bridgew.edu

 

• Einstein’s Workshop; einsteinsworkshop.com

 

• LEtGO Your Mind; letgoyourmind.com

 

• Russian School of Mathematics; russianschool.com

 

• The Math Club; themathclub.com

 

• The Science Works!; thescienceworks.com

 

Various Programs Available

 

• Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston; bostonjcc.org

 

• LINX; linxclasses.com

 

• The Boston Conservatory; bostonconservatory.edu

 

Theme-Based Camps in Boston and Around Massachusetts

 

• Charles River Creative Arts; crcap.org

 

• Tenacre Day Camp; tenacrecds.org/summer

 

• The Chestnut Hill School Creative Arts & Sports Program; tchs.org

 

• For more theme-based camps, visit BostonParentsPaper.com/camp

 

 

 

 

 

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09 Apr 2015


By Cheryl Crosby
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