Inspired living

Children's extracurricular activities affect family life

Little boy taking badminton racket in training class at the gym


Children’s extracurricular activities are an important element of a healthy lifestyle.

Parents prefer to enroll their children in organised activities with the hope that children benefit from such activities both in the short-term and the longer-term.

But the demand for children to get involved in extra activities such as music lessons or a sports club is increasing.

Children find little time to themselves to indulge in free-play and manage their own time which is very important for their development.

Parents and children are spending more time after school and on weekends attending these extra-curricular activities.

What kind of impact does this have on family life and the wellbeing of children?

A new study attempted to understand the impact of children’s extracurricular activities on family life.

They interviewed almost 50 families from 12 primary schools in North-West England.

The researchers discovered that all the children participated in at least two organised activities at the time of the interviews.

Eight-eight per cent of the children took part in extra activities four to five days per week and 58 per cent of the children participated in more than one in an evening.

The researchers found that families were spending less quality time with each other. Most of the parent’s time and money was spent in these activities.

One parent also indicated that their children were “knackered” from all these activities.

Many parents felt that they needed their children to be involved in organised activities on a regular basis. This was prompted by pressure to conform to the norms of their social groups — fellow parents and their children.

The research highlights that while children may gain short-term benefits like keeping fit and healthy and longer-term benefits such as improving job prospects, a busy schedule puts a heavy strain on family relationships, marital relationships and can potentially harm children’s development and wellbeing.

Children find little time to themselves to indulge in free-play and manage their own time which is very important for their development.

These days parents have more disposable income to spend on their children, access to multiple cars and more mothers are returning to work after having children, making extracurricular activities for their children an attractive proposition.

But researchers warn parents not to bite off more than they can chew, as overdoing children’s extracurricular activities can have a considerable impact on family life and the development of their children.

It comes down to finding the healthy balance where your children thrive and your family life blossoms.

Source: Sport, Education and Society


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!