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Advantages and Disadvantages of Placing Your Child in Extracurricular Activities

I was always one to participate in extracurricular activities as a child and eventually as a teenager. For instance, I participated in gymnastics, girl scouts, and then committed to swimming. As an individual, there were benefits to participating in extracurricular activities, as I found other friends outside of school and had developed great time management skills.

But what are the advantages and disadvantages of extracurricular activities? As a parent, you may be trying to decide whether to place your child in some extracurricular activity. And to make that decision even harder, there is a wide array of extracurricular activities to choose from. For instance, it can be sports or activities such as 4-H, but it generally refers to opportunities that occur outside of school hours.

I have developed a list of advantages and disadvantages to participating in activities. I hope this helps!


Benefits of Extracurricular Activities

1.Exploration of Interests

Your child can explore what activities they enjoy and bring passion to their lives outside of the classroom and the home.

2.More opportunities to expand one’s social circle and improve social skills

At school, there may not be as many opportunities to socialize and meet other people. However, extracurricular activities can offer friends outside of the classroom. In addition, extracurricular activities help improve social skills- For instance, there are more opportunities to interact with others and “practice” socializing. There are also opportunities for a lot of teamwork.

3.Time Management

If your child is participating in extracurricular activities, one must learn how to prioritize and manage their schoolwork as well. It may also be that engaging in extracurricular activities allows the brain to recharge, leaving one refreshed to go back to doing homework assignments rather than procrastinating or not doing them at all.

4.Improved academics

Studies show that students who participate in extracurricular activities tend to do better in school. It may be that

5.Improve physical fitness

If your child participates in sports or some other physical activity, this will help improve their overall physical fitness. Those who participate in some physical activity are more likely to lead an active lifestyle.

6.College Applications

It is good to include extracurricular activities on college applications, as colleges can learn a lot more about each student. Extracurricular activities are also important because they show that a student has taken initiative/leadership in other aspects of their life. Colleges are looking for students who will make an impact and who will add to the campus culture.

7.Improves self-esteem/mental health

If a child participates in a sport, it likely will help improve self-esteem, while also reducing depression. Part of this impact comes from a child learning a new skill and, thus, feeling a sense of accomplishment. It also provides a better sense of self, in that a child learns more about who they are and what they are passionate about.


Disadvantages of Extracurricular Activities

1.May require too much of a time commitment

For some individuals, it may be difficult to manage the time commitment for participating in extracurricular activities. This may especially be the case for those who are participating in more than one extracurricular activity. With that being said, if there is too much of a time commitment, performance in school could suffer if assignments and studying are not being done.

2.May result in a shift in priorities

Participating in extracurricular activities may be a lot more fun than doing schoolwork. Thus, it may be an easy distraction from schoolwork, which ultimately does not get done.

3.Could result in more stress

The time commitment, as well as the pressure to perform well, may be stressful. In turn, this can result in a lot of anxiety and potentially depression for some. In addition, being “over-scheduled” can result in a lot of stress if one is participating in too many activities.

4.Extra expense

Some extracurricular activities do require an extra expense, which may not be affordable. For example, you may have to pay each month to participate in a sport, not to mention paying for uniforms.

Final Thought on Advantages and Disadvantages of Extracurricular Activities

In my opinion, I feel, if done right, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages of extracurricular activities. It provides so many opportunities to expand one’s sense of self and to be physically and mentally healthier. Of course, you have to do what is right for your family and your child. Even so, keep in mind that it may take some time to find the right extracurricular activity that works for your child.


Written by Tamra Cater

I am married, and I also have a 4-year-old daughter. I earned my Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi, and I have been teaching psychology classes over the past 10 years. As a professor and as a parent, I grew to love learning anything about child development. I recently turned that into a passion for helping other parents by starting my own blog at


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