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What impact do extracurricular activities have on families?
So-called extra-curricular activities are essential for the well-being and general development of children. Nevertheless, parents should be careful when planning such activities. Researchers have now found that if children take part in too many sports classes or other activities, it can do great harm.
In their current research, Edge Hill University scientists found that doing too much extra-curricular activities in children means that they spend less time with their loved ones and less money is available in families. The children's energy reserves were also reduced. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Sport, Education and Society".
Activities are important for children
Children should take part in extra-curricular activities in their free time. This can improve the general development and well-being of children. However, some parents are a little overzealous about this. This means that children have an extra-curricular program almost every day of the week. However, too many activities can significantly harm the affected children.
How many activities do children participate in?
The majority of children (88 percent) in the study took part in organized activities four to five days a week. 58 percent of the participating children even participated in one or more activities per day. The extra-curricular commitment was therefore seen as dominating family life, especially in families with more than one child, the researchers explain. As a result, the families spent less time together, the children's energy reserves were also reduced and the households had less money for other things.
Parents are often unable to respond properly to inclinations
For the current study, the researchers surveyed almost 50 families from twelve different primary schools. Last year's survey found that the majority of parents struggle to keep up with their children's interests. The biggest challenge for her was to respond to the child's inclinations. Many parents also felt unable to meet the changing interests of the child.
Family relationships are put under considerable strain
Parents initiate and facilitate their children's participation in organized activities because they want to show that they are good parents, says study author Sharon Wheeler from Edge Hill University in the UK. However, the results of the current study make it clear that reality can be a little different. While children may experience some of these benefits, a tightly organized activity plan can put significant strain on family resources and relationships. This may affect children's development and well-being, Wheeler adds.
Children should exercise a lot
Until a healthy balance is found, extra-curricular activities will continue to take priority over family time and may do more harm than good, the researchers explain. At the same time, it should be noted that the lifestyle of the children must not be sedentary. If children do not get much physical activity, this leads to a number of health problems, such as the development of obesity and a non-alcoholic fatty liver. The best way to protect your child from these diseases is to encourage them to be as active as possible. (as)