Show off strengths
Look for activities your child excels at. If he’s creative, maybe an art class or guitar class is the right pick. If he has a lot of energy, physical activities—such as soccer or the swim team—may be the perfect way to blow off some steam. Kids with learning and attention issues can struggle in school, so it can feel good to do things that come naturally and easily outside of school.
Find a hidden talent
Sometimes kids may be reluctant to try new things for fear of failure. There are a lot of extracurricular activities to pick from. Your child can sample an activity that seems interesting and decide whether to stick with it after giving it a shot. The payoff could be discovering a talent no one knew about. For example, your child might be focused on playing baseball but find out he has a real knack for drawing comics. That would be a cool discovery—and a big confidence boost.
Feel just like the other kids
Kids with learning and attention issues may sometimes feel frustrated in school—like they can’t catch up to the other kids in their class. But an extracurricular activity, especially one your child likes and is good at, can make him feel “just like the other kids”—and show him that everyone has weaknesses. For example, a cooking class could show your child that even the book-smart kid in his class can make a mess of a casserole.
Meet kids with the same interests
Extracurricular activities can be a great way for your child to make new friends, or just to interact with other kids outside of a classroom. In some cases, it could also lead to other fun social interactions. For example, if your child enjoys guitar class, maybe other kids in the group want to start a band. Hey, even the Beatles had to start somewhere!
Learn new skills
Extracurricular activities are generally fun. Kids may not even realize they’re learning valuable skills while participating in them. And because they don’t realize they’re learning, they may not feel the kind of pressure they experience in school. That can clear the path for learning skills in a low-stress way. Activities like yoga and dance can help develop coordination and motor control. Drama classes can help kids with reading comprehension. Chess or robotics club can build problem-solving skills.
Develop a sense of belonging
Kids with learning and attention issues may feel like they don’t relate to their peers or that they don’t belong. But being part of a team—such as a sports team or a group like a comic’s book club—can change that. Participating in a class with other kids who enjoy the same thing can help your child feel like part of a positive group.
Realize there’s more to life than school
School can be tough for some kids. Some may struggle academically. Some may have trouble getting along with certain teachers or have a hard time making friends. Being part of an extracurricular activity can help your child understand that school is just one part of life. There are other things to do, and other places to fit in.