Through force. A psychologist spoke about the dangers of additional activities for children | Child health | Health

Drama club, photo club… Many parents are sure that the key to properly raising a child is in his varied activities after school. In pursuit of “harmonious growing up,” children are taken to a music school, a sports section, foreign language courses, or classes for “young geniuses.” But over time, extracurricular activities become a reason for constant family quarrels – the child refuses to go to training or rehearsal, the mother is upset that she spent so much effort and money in vain, and a scandal arises at home every time. decided to figure out how to resolve such conflicts.

Why do we all need this?

“If you encounter resistance to additional activities, it is first of all important to understand what goal you are moving towards with your child and how understandable and valuable it is for the child himself,” explains psychologist Olga Zlobina. — If your daughter dreams of dancing beautifully and performing on stage, you can convey to her the value of routine training and why she goes to class on the weekend instead of relaxing. But if the child does not have his own goal, you will spend a lot of nerve cells every time delivering a dissatisfied child to dance class,” says the expert.

Between strictness and freedom

At the same time, it is not worth completely canceling any additional classes, says the psychologist. Another thing is that a balance must be maintained between inflexibility and freedom of choice. “If you push it, the children will rebel or, on the contrary, will never learn to defend themselves. If we give too much freedom, we will provoke anxiety and a tendency to seek authority outside the family (which is not always safe),” explains Olga Zlobina.

At the same time, it is important to remember: not a single development channel will work “under pressure.” Because a child does not develop under stress: if an activity causes a lot of stress, it will not work for the future, the expert is sure.

Have time to play enough

No more than four per week is the optimal number of classes for children under 7-8 years old, explains the psychologist. “A club or section always involves learning, but for a preschooler this is still a difficult activity. It’s important for them to play. But don’t confuse free play with play-based learning! This lures parents to various children’s courses. All these are also activities, not games, the children get tired of them,” says Zlobina.

According to the psychologist, a child of any age should have a weekend: for teenagers at least one day a week, for preschoolers and primary schoolchildren – two days, since it is very important for them to have time for free play.

“Otherwise, the children will still take their toll and after seven years they will say: “I’ve studied enough, now I’ll play.” Such situations are not uncommon among my clients,” explains the psychologist.

How to understand that a child is overloaded?

At any age, it is necessary to look for signs of fatigue: if a child sleeps poorly and has difficulty waking up, behaves atypically after classes at home: “stands on his head”, lies flat, begins to cry often or shows aggression – it’s time to reduce the load, the expert believes.

It is important to remember: each age has its own duration of classes: for preschoolers – no more than 30 minutes at a time. For younger schoolchildren, it’s 40-45 minutes of continuous learning, and for teenagers, it’s already 60 minutes, explains the psychologist.

It’s different with teenagers

If even for children of primary school age the love of their parents and the playground is enough, then it is advisable to take teenagers to clubs, explains the psychologist.

“Then they will have another significant adult, and this is a good support at a time when relations with their parents are strained. There they learn how to interact with a team, collaborate, and jointly solve problems. Find new friends. They learn more about themselves and their qualities. In other words, especially in adolescence, clubs and sections are a good option for spending time, but there should also be days off from them,” explains the expert.

How to choose the right classes?

At the same time, the psychologist is sure: there is no “gold standard” in choosing clubs. The main thing is that the activities are enjoyable and bring joy to the child. It is also important to show that the child can choose the club himself, and also that the parent is ready to support him.

“Sometimes the endless discussion and search for compromises can be exhausting, but it is a huge contribution to trusting relationships. Believe me, when your baby becomes a teenager, you will be glad that 10 years ago you did not overuse the words “because I said so, that’s all!” Trust and parental authority are formed on the foundation of respect for the child’s needs,” the expert concludes.


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