The Importance of After-School Programs for kids
Does your child have a seemingly endless supply of energy? Do they need something in their lives to channel this energy into something useful? Do you have a busy schedule that prevents you from fully enabling them to harness this energy? If you answered yes to these questions, then it sounds like you sure could use an after-school program. Aside from after-school programs being a fantastic way for children to channel their energy, they can be a new and different way for children to learn life skills, learn creative outlets, develop physically, and learn to be a part of a team. There are a huge number of different after-school programs to choose from, everything from soccer teams to learning French, and just about all of them have a practical purpose that can benefit your child in many different ways as well as make your life easier. Having some extra time while your child is busy doing something positive can be hugely beneficial to parents who sometimes feel as if there are not enough hours in the day. This article will provide an overview of a few great options for both you and your child.
- Sports Programs: After-school sports programs can be a wonderful outlet for kids to partake in due to their wide array of physical and social development tools. Being on a team of peers can be incredibly constructive when it comes to making friends and developing social skills, and being outside and being active have very obvious physical benefits. Participating in sports programs can also help children manage their emotions through discovering their strengths and weaknesses. Playing sports has also been shown to increase cognitive function in children, leading to higher test scores and lower drop-out rates. For more information on the benefits of participation in sports programs, review this article from stanfordchildrens.org.
- Music Classes: Music classes can be a great way for children to channel their creativity in ways that may not be available to them in school. Learning a new instrument can provide a child with a sense of self worth and confidence that can only be gained from conquering a challenge. Mastering an instrument is very time consuming and can be frustrating, but the patience and perseverance it takes to master an instrument can benefit a child for their entire life. For a comprehensive look at the benefits of music classes check out this article from petersonfamilyfoundation.org
- Foreign Language Classes: Many schools do offer some form of foreign language classes, and many high schools require it, but getting an early start certainly does not hurt. Most high schools will offer Spanish and French and maybe some others, but if your child is interested in another language they will often have to look off campus. Learning a second (or third, fourth, fifth, etc.) language can be hugely beneficial to a child long term, and is even required for a lot of careers. Learning and using a foreign language at a young age gives a child a better chance of becoming proficient in that language and using it as an asset throughout their life. For more on the benefits of foreign language programs check out this article from pandatree.com.
- Boy/Girl Scouts: Both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts can be great options for your child. While not a true after-school program since they operate on weekends as well and require a bit more parent involvement than some of the others programs mentioned here, being a Boy Scout or Girl Scout can have wonderful long term benefits for children. Both programs are great in terms of leadership development and learning to work within an organization. Both programs set goals for their members and reward them upon completion of those goals, which is a great way to show kids how their positive actions can lead to positive responses. Putting your child in a structure environment with achievable and visible goals is always a positive. For more, check out this article from scouting.org.
- Tutoring/Extended Learning Classes: This last option may not be the most popular option amongst kids, but it absolutely has its benefits. Tutoring and extended learning classes can get kids up to speed in subjects that they may struggle in as well as giving them a structured environment in which to get their homework and studying done. Sometimes help from a parent is not as well received since it seems like a chore, but when it comes from a tutor, a child is less likely to act out and not listen. Tutoring is proven to improve academic performance, improve overall study habits, and can even improve social skills. A common misconception is that tutoring is only useful for children who may be a little behind the curve, but studies show that tutoring can benefit any and every level of student. For an in-depth look at the benefits of tutoring, check out this article from gradepowerlearning.com.
Here are some articles for you to review.
An article listing which states have the best after-school programs
Ten questions to ask an after-school program.
Nine questions you should ask about an after-school program