We’ve all seen it: the parent trying to keep their family’s lives organized in some color-coded fashion. Whether it’s the tried and true monthly paper calendar or the increasingly popular shared calendar on our phones, parents need these to keep up with the growing list of activities their kids are involved in.
Kids of all ages are in a growing number of extracurriculars, which means a growing number to parents’ checkbooks. Overall, the cost of raising a child continues to grow each year. In 2011 parents were spending $13,817 a year on a child. Now, parents spend an average of almost $14,000 a year on a child – all before college.
In 2016, the Backpack Index released its findings – a 3 percent increase in costs from 2015 to 2016 for elementary school aged children; and parents are paying an average of $463 per child in a year on extracurricular activities. That number only grows as you move into middle school and high school aged kids.
One activity that has especially seen an increase? Youth sports. According to Craig Israelsen, associate professor of personal and family finance at Brigham Young University, featured in an article titled “Study: Parents spending more on children,” youth athletics have changed completely, morphing from a simple after-school activity, to a year-long commitment.
“When I was young, if you wanted to play basketball you played at the school down the street,” he said. “Now you can send your child to tournaments in Hawaii.”
Although motivation behind parents’ spending has not been rarely studied, parents know the benefits that can come from children being involved in extracurricular activities. There is such a broad range of activities from arts to sports – and each one can have a positive influence on a child’s life.
One of the most noticeable benefits of extracurricular activities is building a child’s self-esteem. Children who participate in art activities can see an increase in developed brain function and motor skills. Children who participate in sports have physical development benefits, but can also help with attention and concentration.
As your calendar fills with more activities, we’d like to say – cheers to you, parents! Your dedication is very appreciated!