We have all heard of the term and most likely experienced FOMO – the fear of missing out. There is often another fear of missing out for parents that we do not often talk about; the fear of your kids missing out (or the not-so-easily pronounced acronym FOYKMO). As it turns out – you needn’t put yourself through this particular parental anguish as it can easily avoided with minimal effort and organisation.
Have you been having coffee with other parents and wondered how do they do it; how do these kids have so many activities and their parents still have time for socialising, cleaning up and cooking meals? Have you ever wondered the following when hearing of your child’s peers’ exploits?:
- Everyone else is doing it; my child will be the only kid not learning this fantastic new skill.
- Will this put my child/ren behind their peers if they don’t do it?
- All their best friends are doing it; they will be left out of the group if they don’t do it.
- Will this make it harder for them to get into the team next year?
- My kid(s) love this activity and will be sad not to do it again next term.
- They are only doing x number of activities; maybe one more couldn’t hurt?
- All the research says such and such activity is a great thing for kids’ development.
Fear of our kids missing out can steer us in the direction where we make decisions that aren’t necessarily best for our child or our individual families. Our fears and reactions are well-intentioned – we want the best for our kids, and we want to give them as many opportunities as possible. But how, when, where?
Sometimes as parents, we have to accept that our kids cannot simply do everything, and parents can’t be in multiple places at once (often working to pay for the activities), so there has to be a limit on how much the kids do.
However, there could be a secret weapon that is helping that mysterious parent – the one who seems to be able to do it all (or at least their children do) – make it all happen.
That secret weapon is a school that offers an exciting choice of activities right on campus – and with transport if needed. A school that has activities for all personality types and physical abilities, and a school that keeps an eye on whether children are doing too much, or not participating at all.
It is a school that opens the same activities up to other community members so children from outside your child’s school friendship circle can both enjoy the benefits of the school and increase their social circles.
Bernie Mills, director of Experiential Education at Firbank Grammar School, said that at Firbank, students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities during their time at school – from sport, music and drama to personal development and community service programs.
“There is a whole range of benefits gained from these programs, like the Year 7 Discovery Camp that helps bond the new Year 7 Students and teaches them independent skills whilst surfing, paddle-boarding, hiking and camping.
Mills said that while students have the opportunity to pursue a wide range of study areas through core subjects and electives, extracurricular activities allow students to explore an interest more in-depth than what is covered in class – or maybe even find a completely new interest that they would not have been exposed to otherwise. “If they then want to do more, extra programs are available – club swimming, snow sports, equestrian, rowing and team sports are all organised by the school.”
Child psychologists in the BYU Journal of Psychology (Vol 12, Iss 2) reported that studies show extracurricular activities have a positive effect on academics, significantly when they contribute to a balanced life, self-confidence, an increased sense of personal duty and contribution to the school, and feelings of belonging.
Pete Russo, Head of Sport at Firbank Grammar School, also said that the activities can help children build their skills outside of the classroom. “In addition to building skills within a specific discipline, extracurricular activities are great for developing general academic and soft skills. Think debating for public speaking, academic competitions for exam strategies, and sport for teamwork.”
Russo also said that these activities can offer a welcome break from studies and homework – particularly for senior students if they can spare the time. “Depending on your child’s interests, these activitis may provide the chance to get outside and exercise, see friends, pursue a hobby or destress and refresh their mind. They also help limit your child’s time in front of a TV or computer screen.”
So, forget the FORYKMO and enrol your children in a school that offers a holistic education, and not one just for academics or sport, but a school that has its students’ wellbeing and a positive mind frame as its core ethos.
Then sit back when others complain over a latte (try not to be smug) and relax because you have all the time in the world knowing that your children are in good hands. Binge-watching old favourite shows on Netflix, anyone?
For more information on Firbank Grammar School, visit firbank.vic.edu.au.