Extracurricular Activities Teach Social Skills

Today’s kids seem to have less time to play outside with neighborhood friends than kids of a generation ago. With less natural playtime, extracurricular activities play an important role to develop interpersonal skills. Here are seven key reasons in the role extracurricular activities play.

  • Work together.  Extracurricular activities offer an ‘ice-breaker’ quality of a common theme or a common goal. Rather than sitting around wondering what to say to someone, children are bonded by a mutual purpose and drive toward an accomplishment. – Dr. Anthony DeCamello, Licensed Psychologist and Crisis Manager with at-risk adolescents.
  • Instill cooperation. Activities present the interpersonal challenge of multiple perspectives on how to proceed. Kids can quickly see that their strategies need to be somewhat amended and aligned to be effective. This ultimately takes the form of some combination of negotiation, cooperation, and collaboration. – Dr. Anthony DeCamello
  • Learn problem solving. Telling children what is appropriate isn’t as effective as first-hand experience. Providing a natural context [extracurricular activities] for conflict resolution is most effective in promoting children’s understanding and use of proactive social interactions. Discussion, choice, and problem-solving are effective for supporting their understanding and application of conflict resolution. – Kathleen G. Burriss, Ed.D, Department of Elementary and Special Education, Middle Tennessee State University
  • Resolve conflicts. Conflicts are a natural part of human interaction. Helping children to consider multiple resolutions to a difficult situation is worthy. Activities involving problem-based learning (PBL) are important because children learn there are different ways to gather information, different ways to solve problems, and different ways to present their argument. – Kathleen G. Burriss, Ed.D
  • Encourage leadership skills. In a classroom, the teacher is in the leadership role and remains in control. “Outside-the-classroom activities provide opportunities for assuming leadership and supportive roles,” says Dr. Anthony DeCamello.
  • Provide life lessons. Extracurricular activities are an important part of teaching our adolescents social skills, time management skills, and how to be a team player-–all which are critical life lessons they will benefit from far into their adulthood. – Deborah Zupancic, founder of ParentingRenewed.com and award-winning author of You’re Going to be a Grandma.
  • Receive a well-rounded education. Many students return home from school only to complete a vigorous amount of homework, leaving very little time for face-to-face interaction with peers. By engaging in extracurricular activities, parents allow children to gain a more well-rounded education, while teaching them critical problem solving skills and communication to stay within the boundaries set by administration. – Deborah Zupancic