Do your kids come home from school a plop down in front of the TV or play video games? They could be missing out on growth and development opportunities.
After school activities offer a lot of opportunities for kids to learn and play before they come home from school.
Read on to learn about the benefit of after school programs and activities and how to pick one that’s right for your child.
1. Better Grades
Participating in after school programs usually leads to better grades for kids. Depending on the program, they can get help with homework and one-on-one attention that they may not get during the school day.
Some after school programs are focused on a particular school subject. For example, an after school math program can help kids improve their math grades.
If your kids participate in physical activity, such as soccer or gymnastics, they can get better grades as well. Kids have more focus in the classroom and it keeps them more disciplined.
2. You Know Your Kids are Safe
Do you know the peak time for kids to get into trouble? If you guessed between 3 pm and 6 pm, you’re right. This is the time when kids are bored and need something to do.
If they don’t find something to do, they’ll get into trouble. After school programs can drastically cut down on these issues.
As a parent, you’re likely to still be at work during these hours. Enrolling your kids in after school activities also means that you don’t need to wonder where they are while you’re at work.
3. Develop Social Skills
Social skills are a must for kids not only now, but their entire lives. They’ll be unable to connect with others and cope with emotional issues.
If kids do nothing but stare at their phones and screens after school, they don’t have a chance to develop these essential skills.
They don’t have too many opportunities to connect in the classroom, but they can form friendships and social skills in after school activities.
4. Kids Can Be Healthier
Childhood obesity is a real problem not only in the U.S. but all over the world. Poor diets and a lack of activity are commonplace.
Obesity can lead to preventable diseases not just now but into adulthood. Diabetes and heart issues are common health problems with obese people.
There are after school programs that promote physical activity in kids.
5. Kids Expend More Energy
If kids are in school focusing all day, they might not have had a chance to expend all of their energy while at school.
That means that they’re going to want to play or find some unproductive way to get that energy out. That can come out as behavioral problems or tantrums.
6. Confidence and a Sense of Belonging
It doesn’t matter if the after school program is a sport or focused on academic work, these programs promote confidence and a sense of belonging in kids.
Kids are working together to solve problems and reach goals together in a group. When kids realize what they’re capable of, they become confident in all areas of life.
7. Structure is Good for Kids
When a child has structure in their day, they have a feeling of safety and security. It also assists in brain development.
Ideally, you want your kids to have structure, but too much structure can stifle creativity. You want to make sure that there is a good balance between structure and creativity.
You also want to make sure that as you’re providing structure, children learn how to be responsible, too. You don’t want to micromanage and do everything for them.
After school programs can provide that balance of structure while allowing kids a good amount of independence to play.
How to Choose an After School Activity for Your Kids
Now that you understand the benefits of after school activities, how can you choose the right activity for your child? Here are a few tips to pick the right activity program.
Does Your Child Really Want to Go?
You don’t want to enroll your child in an after school program they don’t want to go to. That will make every session painful for the child and for you.
They might not enjoy an activity like soccer, but they love robotics. You want to find the activities that your child is interested in trying out.
If your child doesn’t want to do any type of activity after school, there may be something else going on. Have a talk with your child to find out what they’re afraid of.
For some kids, they have a real fear of bullying or they’re overstimulated from school and need downtime.
What is the Goal of the Activity?
You want to have a good understanding as to what you hope your child gets out of the activity. Do you expect them to get better math or science grades? Do you just want them to have fun learning a new sport?
Having the end result in mind will help you narrow down your options.
Schedule and Time Commitments
Some activities are going to require a big time commitment. Others meet just once a week. You’re already busy and likely to be working all day, so you want to keep in mind your ability to get the child to and from the activity.
Last, but certainly not least is the cost of the program. You want to make sure that the after school programs fit within your family budget.
After School Programs Help Kids Learn and Grow
If you’ve been on the fence about enrolling your kid into after school programs, you need to know that the benefits are great for you and your child.
You know where your child is after school. Your child is learning valuable skills that can carry them for the rest of their lives.
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