5 Reasons for Students to Participate in Extracurricular Activities

St. Charles Borromeo students tug of war

The best learning happens when children enjoy going to school. While classes can be fun, they are often stressful. Extracurricular activities can help alleviate stress while giving children something to look forward to after class. The best part about these activities is that almost any child can find one that aligns with their interests. Schools have academic clubs, music and art groups, special interest organizations, and, of course, athletic programs. Here are some of the ways these activities help students thrive.

Better Academic Performance

Students who participate in extracurricular activities see school as more than just a place to study. This creates a positive perspective, which leads to more motivation to do well in classes. Participating in extracurricular activities can increase brain function. Children who need to learn songs, routines, lines or sports moves learn how to focus, which in turn helps them achieve academic success. Sports and performing arts can also teach students about endurance and reacting quickly in tough situations. When it comes time to take the big test, these students have the upper hand.

ballet

Broadened Horizons

Students from all grades, learning levels and walks of life can join and thrive in student organizations. Children who participate in these activities have the opportunity to learn about different cultures and perspectives. They can also learn more about their own interests and discover adjacent interests that their new friends have. By going to after school activities full of students with shared interests, children have more opportunities to meet and interact with diverse groups of people.

Sense of Belonging

Feeling like you’re the only one who likes something can feel isolating. Finding and joining a school club can give children a sense of belonging. In at least one way, children have a shared purpose with others in the group. On sports teams, every student plays a specific role. Children learn about all the different roles and how they work together, as well as how their role impacts the team as a whole. Children who feel they belong to a community often have a better sense of identity and better mental health than those who feel isolated.

leadership

Leadership Skills

All extracurricular activities have a leadership structure, whether it’s a special interest group or a team. Students in these groups learn about how leadership roles work and can become leaders within the groups. This may also involve learning a little bit about politics if it’s a popular club that runs elections. Other skills children can learn by participating in extracurricular activities include teamwork, goal setting, problem solving, time management, and public speaking. 

Career Prospects

Your child may not be building a resume or college application yet, but when they do, they’ll be better prepared if they have leadership skills and experience. As students advance in school, they’ll be inclined to continue being involved in extracurricular activities. This looks great on college applications, especially if they showed leadership within the group. If they’re involved in student organizations at a college level, that will be a great boost when they start their careers. 

Children who participate in extracurricular activities have plenty of opportunities to get ahead in life. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Teaching Your Child Leadership Skills

child in suit

Every child has the potential to be a leader, but not all are born with natural leadership skills. The good news is that many important aspects of leadership can be taught. As a parent, you’re in a unique position to foster your child’s abilities and help them become the best version of themselves. Here are some of the most important qualities of a good leader and how you can help your child nurture them. 

Patience and Forgiveness

To succeed in life, your child needs to learn to be patient with others. When your kid gets upset at needing to wait on someone or for something, talk about how being patient ultimately helps everyone. Explain to your child that most people who cause harm don’t do so with intent and that all people make mistakes. This will also help your child become more patient with themselves. 

Confidence

Leaders need to be decisive and confident. Even if they’re not always sure about the decision they made, they need to be able to explain why they made that decision. Allow your child to make their own choices, starting small and expanding the scope over time. Let them speak directly to wait staff and cashiers, rather than speaking or ordering for them. This will help boost their confidence over time and help them become independent.

girl playing piano

Creativity

Being a leader involves creative thinking and strategy. Encourage your child in any creative pursuit, whether it’s music, art, writing or a unique method of problem solving. Display art around the house, and play music in the car. Talk to your child about how their favorite movies and video games come to life. 

Negotiation Skills

Your child will get far in life if they learn how to negotiate early on. You can help teach them this important skill. When they request something you’re unsure about, rather than saying “no,” make them an offer so they can make a counter offer. See if you can provide multiple options for them to choose from that will help them accomplish their goal. Children often need to ask for permission, and giving them the option to negotiate will be great practice and make them feel more empowered to act independently.

kids playing soccer

Team Player Mentality

To lead others, your child will need experience being around others in different environments. Find out what they’re interested in, and encourage them to explore group activities that allow them to meet like minded people. If they’re into the outdoors, they may thrive in a Scouting organization. Artistic children may enjoy art clubs, school bands or drama troupes. Team sports are a great option for athletic children because everyone has an important role to play. While leaders need to be independent, they also need to know how to work with others.

The teachers at our Orlando private school know that children are the future and that many of our students are destined to become great leaders. Located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, our school is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. The staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Helping Your Child Stay Safe Online

child online Orlando Catholic School

The internet can be a great resource for developing minds. Children can form connections and find a wealth of information online. However, there is a dark side to having an infinite amount of information and access to others. With the internet being more a part of our lives than ever before, it’s vital to ensure your child’s online safety. Here are our tips for helping your child stay safe online:

Talk About Internet Safety

The first step in keeping your child safe is talking to him about safety. When your child first accesses the internet, start talking about what he’s reading, watching and doing online. Listen to your child’s thoughts on what he wants to do online. Each family handles this differently, but it helps if you establish clear rules. Discuss online behavior and its effects on offline life. Talk about online reputation, emphasizing that everything your child posts will be public and permanent. Remind your child that everyone he talks to online is a real person, so any hurtful comments he makes could have a long-term impact.

Track Your Child’s Online Habits

Keep the computer your child will be using in a central part of the house where you can monitor his activity. Check the browser history to make sure he’s not seeing anything he shouldn’t be. Aside from the websites and apps your child is using, pay attention to how much time he’s spending online. One way to do this is by setting a timer for each session for an agreed upon amount of time, like 30 minutes or an hour. When time is up, say so, and be firm. When it’s bedtime, consider turning off the Wi-Fi so the whole family can get offline for the night. 

online phone on social media next to laptop Orlando Catholic School

Know Who Your Child’s Online Friends Are

Before your child gets online, inform him that not everyone online is who they say they are. Look for warning signs, like spending long hours online at night, phone calls from strangers, and your child shutting off the computer when you walk in. Human trafficking is a growing problem that affects teens everywhere, even Central Florida, so it’s important to look out for the signs and have a conversation with your child. Talk to him about saying no, getting out of uncomfortable situations, and letting a teacher or parent know when something suspicious happens around him. Even if it doesn’t affect him directly, reporting suspicious behavior can save a life.

Along with the threat of human trafficking, cyberbullying is an issue for children, both being bullied and becoming the bully. Become friends with their social media accounts, and monitor their posts. If your child or his friends post something inappropriate, try to talk about it in private and offline. You want to be a trusted advisor, not an embarrassing parent. 

Find the Parental Controls

The good news is that parental controls are readily available. Internet service providers typically offer parental controls, so that’s a great place to start. Figure out how they work, and look into additional options like browser plugins and website filters to keep your child protected. Bookmark their favorite websites so they can easily access them. While you have a certain amount of control over what happens in your home, keep in mind that these filters aren’t perfect, and your child will be using the internet in other places, like at school and at friends’ houses.

mother stands behind child on computer Orlando Catholic School

Help Your Child Protect Themselves

To keep your child safe online, help them protect themselves. Tell your child why it’s important not to share information like their full name, location and school with strangers online. Show them how privacy filters work. No matter how hard we try, sometimes inappropriate messages get through. Teach your child how to report these types of messages and block accounts. At our Orlando Catholic school, we believe the internet can be a great resource for children, as long as they use it responsibly.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.