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Brooke Walker, Studio 5 For many families, fall means more than just back to school. With the start of a new season many kids return to those "regularly scheduled" activities: piano lessons, dance lessons and sports to name a few.
A recent study found the average teenage student spends 10 to 15 hours per week on extracurricular activities. In addition to time, parents invest a lot of money on these talents.
So how can parents make the most that investment? Pushing their child may not be the answer.
For the King family it's back to the books and back to the keys. "We have to practice 30 minutes everyday. Well, we have to get 150 minutes a week," explained 10-year-old Eliza
"It's really fun. But not practicing, practicing is not fun," 8-year-old Anna chimed in.
All of these talents involve time and money. And whether it's the dance studio or the soccer field, every parent hopes the money they invest in their kids' extracurricular activities will pay off. "It does cost a lot of money in lessons and sports, but I think it's a good investment because it shows them they can do something, that they can excel in something. I hope they can feel a sense of accomplishment for working hard at something and succeeding," said Julia King, Eliza and Anna's mother.
Keith Henschen is a professor of Sports Psychology at the University of Utah. This morning on Studio 5, he explained there is fine line between motivating and pushing. "There is a distinct difference between pushing and motivating. When it becomes more important to the parent than it does to the child, you are pushing. Another is when you have to force them to go to practice. Then you are pushing," Henschen explained.
Henshcen also said it's important to make "fun" a priority. A child should genuinely enjoy what they do.
Also, try to include friends and make sure they are learning skills. One might assume kids associate learning with work, but they embrace new information.
Henschen also advised to model the same behavior you expect from your kids. If you want them to practice the piano, for example, let them see you practicing a skill.
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