Wouldn’t it be great if rather than watching football, volleyball, tennis or any other organized sport on television or exclaiming at the graceful moves of a ballet dancer, beauty of a painting or melody of a musical piece, your child actually takes part in one of the sports or indulges in one of these performing arts?
After school programs can provide your children the platform where they can discover their talents and hone them further. These programs are an exciting way to challenge kids into doing something new and creative and they are also the best way to escape boredom once they are back from school. Listed below are the top 8 benefits of getting involved.
Discover Something New
The first and foremost benefit of an after school activity is that children get to explore their own interests and abilities, be it physical, creative or social. They also make new friends who share similar interests. In the course of exploring, they might also discover their future career path and come in contact with people who can help them progress in the field of their choice. Take the example of Michael Phelps, the Olympic and world record holder in swimming; Phelps began swimming at the age of seven in order to channel his energy into a positive outlet. His coach, Bob Bowman, saw the potential in this child and mentored him to reach the heights which no swimmer has touched till date.
Every parent has to sometime or the else face the inevitable statement ‘I am Bored’ once the children are at home with nothing specific to do. After school activities provide the solution to the problem. Look for cues in your child’s personality traits; if he/she has an ear for music and sways at good tunes, a piano class may be ideal to begin with.
If he/she likes to dabble in paints, an art class will provide a boost to his/her creativity. If you are unsure as to what sports to enroll your child into, you can sign up for classes that introduce a new sport every week. Your child may show interest or inclination towards one of them which he/she can pursue further.
Limit TV Time
The advent of television and video games has got the children hooked to the TV screens or computers for hours at a stretch. Studies prove that kids who watch more than 2 hrs. of television each day have lower agility and IQ. One big advantage of after school programs is that they get the kids out of the house and away from the proximity of television and PC. It brings them into the outdoor world which is real, rather than the virtual world of digital and video games. They interact with real people rather than chatting online, sometimes with total strangers who can misguide them or take advantage of their innocence.
Improved Academic Performance
The results of several researches among elementary to high school level kids have pointed out that involvement in after school programs improve academic performance. Children engaged in these programs are also reported to have better attendance in school and improved attentiveness in class. Also, these programs complement classroom curriculum by providing an environment for informal learning. Infact, after school programs provide a more conducive atmosphere for learning as they are free from the pressure which is inevitable in regular schools.
Physical, Creative and Emotional Health
Participating in a sport gives children a workout that they would otherwise be reluctant to undergo. Being part of the chess club, debate team, band, choir, photography, yearbook, etc. can get their creative juices flowing.
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It is also an opportunity for kids and youth to build strong relationships with adults other than their own parents. The overall improvement in social skills that results from participation is very crucial for their emotional health throughout life.
Stave off Trouble
A huge benefit, especially for adolescents, is that being busy with extracurricular activities keeps them occupied and out of trouble. Being in a supervised environment rather than laundering around unsupervised reduces their likelihood to commit crime, be crime victims or experiment with alcohol, drugs and sexual activities.
Prepare for College and Career
Record of participation in after school activities looks good on your university and job applications. It portrays them in positive light, as well rounded individuals, with a portfolio of skills to complement their academic prowess. After school programs also help children develop better communication skills, team working skills and improved self esteem as a result of the recognition and appreciation from family and society. All these benefits further enhance his/her chances of having a successful career and future.
Something in It For Parents Too
Working parents can rely on after school activities to keep their kids occupied and safe while they are off at work. Lots of after school programs offer homework help, so you don’t have to worry about it when you are home tired from the day’s work. Another advantage for you is that by keeping the kids busy and out of trouble, these programs saves millions of dollars in taxes which go towards reduction in youth crime rate, school dropout rate, teen pregnancy, etc. Moreover, the joy that you get when your child comes running towards you with a trophy in his/her hand for winning a chess championship or a certificate of commendation for a beautiful piece of art is unsurpassable.
To sum it all up, after school programs are an enriching experience for all school going kids. It nurtures their curiosity, releases their energy in positive ways, and gives them an opportunity to showcase their talents. It introduces them to new and enriching realms of life and opens the door for a variety of new hobbies and areas to explore and master.
The challenge that these programs offer keeps the kids motivated and gives them a break from the monotony of school work. It won’t be an overstatement to say that after school activities improves their quality of life by providing social, emotional and physical development and well being.