How to reap life-long benefits from parent-child classes


We already know that extra-curricular activities have lots of benefits for children. For instance, a study funded by the Nuffield Foundation (2016) found that children who took part in clubs such as Cub Scouts and Brownies, choir, arts, crafts, chess and drama, or physical activities, attained higher scores at Key Stage 2 in Maths and English. They also found that physical activity was linked with better social, emotional and behavioural outcomes.

But could children’s activity classes also have something more to offer the parents?

Research carried out on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (2014) has suggested that some art and sport activities are linked with positive wellbeing. In a survey of 40,000 households, team (e.g. football, hockey) and individual sports (e.g. cycling, swimming), taking part in dance or drama, or doing crafts all correlated with a higher life satisfaction.

So perhaps by taking part in their children’s classes, parents would enjoy the benefits of more positive mental health.

Our brain is the most valuable organ in our bodies, so we need to keep it in shape. We’ve talked in the past about the importance of rethinking mental health because, while many parents worry about eating healthy or exercising, wellbeing is often forgotten about.

We are advocates of the parent-centred approach to parenting, which advises parents to lead by example, as they are key role models for their children. By taking care of their own wellbeing, parents are teaching their sons and daughters to care about their own mental health. It also puts parents in a better position to raise a happy, contented child (

There are already many great examples of parent-child classes across the UK, particularly for babies and toddlers. But we would love to see classes that are aimed at older children inviting the parents to take part. We don’t suggest having this as a permanent structure, as it’s good for children to be independent and have their own interests. However, getting parents involved now and again is a wonderful way to help them bond with their children.

If you’re an activity provider looking to stand out from the crowd, why not become a member of the Children’s Activities Association?

The not-for-profit organisation was launched by a team of leading industry experts in 2015 as a UK first to set and raise standards in all organised children’s activities across the country.

Through its membership, code of practice and accreditation, the CAA offers children’s activity providers a simple, sure-fire way to communicate their excellence to customers, potential customers, franchisees and industry peers.

  • Please note that this report uses correlation, which means we can’t assume that taking part in the activity was the reason for better wellbeing. For example, people who take part in dance or drama might be have a more positive outlook on life generally.



Fujiwara, D., Kudrna, L., and Dolan, P. (2014). Quantifying and valuing the wellbeing impacts of culture and sport.

Tanner, E., Chanfreau, J., Callanan, M., Laing, K., Paylor, J., Skipp, A. and Todd, L. (2016). Can out of school activities close the education gap? (Briefing Paper 4). (

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