The Go-To-Guide for Choosing Extra Murals

The Go-To-Guide for Choosing Extra Murals

Extra-Murals as every parent knows are a very important part of a child’s development both physically and mentally. Not only do they provide great benefits health wise but they also teach your children valuable life lessons such as teamwork, loyalty and creativity amongst other things.

With so many activities on offer to your children the dilemma comes in when deciding how many to let them do and which ones are most appropriate for their age. Below is a short guideline which will hopefully alleviate some of the worry you experience when making these kind of decisions.

2-3 years Play dates with other children of a similar age are great this stage as they allow little ones to learn and practice socialisation skills such as sharing. One play date a week at this age is enough especially if your little one is already attending a playgroup during the week.
4-5 (Nursery school to Grade R) Many nursery schools offer basic extra murals at this stage and this can teach your little ones basic skills such as balance, hand eye co-ordination and survival skills as in the case of swimming lessons. Other recommended activities could be Ballet, Dance or any ball skills programme.
6-7 years (Grade 1) At this stage the following activities can be added to their week bearing in mind that 3 or 4 half hour activities a week are more than sufficient for now.

  • Ball sports eg soccer, rugby & cricket
  • Art classes or art based play
  • Music lessons
  • Swimming lessons
  • Lessons in a second home language

Remember that the emphasis must firmly be on enjoyment.

7-8 years (Grade 2) By now your little one is growing up and can manage one short after school activity per day now.

Let them choose and enjoy whichever activity takes their fancy ,letting them change activities with the terms. This gives them a broad experience of the different activities
Remember the following:

  • Focus on your child’s interests not your own
  • Keep one day free for play dates, free play with friends and “downtime” for themselves is still very important
8-9 years (Grade 3) We are now at a stage where sports get a little more competitive and arts a little more demanding. Your child may need to narrow down his activities or make choices between sport and artistic activities.

When we think of learning about teamwork we think of this having to be sports related but this is not the case. They can also learn this through joining ‘clubs’ such as cubs/brownies and drama. If you can, possibly consider one “club” activity. This will also expose your child to a wider group of acquaintances.

9-11 years
(Grade 4 & 5)
At this age children may want to sign up for multiple activities which shows great enthusiasm but the intensity and frequency of these activities often increase now.

You need to remind them of the life lessons below:

  • Schoolwork is still number one
  • When they sign up for an activity they need to see it through to an end point (at least the end of the term)
  • Also, remember the life lessons: when children sign up for an activity, it should be seen through to some sort of conclusion (at least the end of the term) even if the child finds he/she doesn’t like it. Even if this seems harsh it teaches them the skill of perseverance and commitment.
11- 13 years
(Grade 5 -7 )
Your child may now have a favourite activity that they want to focus on completely but try and get them to wait until they are 13 before they decide to focus solely on one activity.
Focus also needs to be placed on responsibility in the home, chores are a really good way of teach them responsibility and respect for their home and parent. Doing something community based together can teach them about social responsibility, so maybe a monthly visit to your local animal shelter to help out will start to instill a sense of responsibility to the people and animals sharing their world.