Kids’ extra-curricular activities could do more harm than good, new study claims

While after-school clubs can be a great way to help working parents or teach a child new skills, a new study claims that too many extra-curricular activities can actually do more harm than good.

A study, published in journal Sport, Education and Society, claims that too much pressure can be put on families as these activities can put a ‘strain on parents’ resources’ and potentially harm children’s development.

‘We know that parents are particularly keen to ensure their children get on in life – parents initiate and facilitate their children’s participation in organised activities as it shows that they are “good” parents,’ the study’s lead author, Dr Sharon Wheeler said.

‘However, our research highlights that the reality can be somewhat different. A busy organised activity schedule can put considerable strain on parents’ resources and families’ relationships, as well as potentially harm children’s development and wellbeing.’

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Researchers interviewed almost 50 families from 12 primary schools in North-West England. They found the majority of children – 88 per cent – took part in organised activities on four to five days per week, with 58 per cent even doing more than one in an evening.

Dr Sharon warned that too much stimulation from other sources means families are spending less quality time together, and parents’ money and energy reserves were often being depleted.

She advised parents to be mindful of trying to please everyone and make sure they’re not overdoing it.

‘Raising awareness of this issue can help those parents who feel under pressure to invest in their children’s organised activities, and are concerned with the impact of such activities on their family, to have the confidence to plan a less hectic schedule for their children,’ she said.

‘Until a healthy balance is struck, extracurricular activities will continue to take precedence over family time, potentially doing more harm than good.’

What do you think of the findings? Are your kids involved in after school activities and how many do you think is too many? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know your thoughts!