Today's children grow up in a society that demands expertise in everything. Learning from textbooks is not enough for your children's overall development. It's the age of specialization and your child cannot afford to miss out on this window of opportunity while he's young.
So, scour your local area for the most advantageous programs and enroll them in the ones you think are the best. After school programs are basically designed to develop a talent or a skill that is ignored or overlooked by regular schools. These programs could be educational or recreational in nature. Whichever they are, make sure they aim to keep your child active and interested.
The most important advantage of a good after school program is that it widens your child's area of interest. He or she is introduced to new things, sometimes interesting, sometimes challenging. Mastering a new art form (painting, photography, dance, acting) or a new skill (sports, karate, yoga, debating, chess) increases your child's self-esteem.
It also allows you to introduce her to new career options. A child attending a music class may decide that she likes it so much that she wants to make a career out of it in the long run. Socialization is another great advantage of after school programs. Children get a chance to meet others who share their interests and they make new friendships with those who have something in common with them (other than just being in school together). An acting class or a soccer class can be lots of fun.
Many of these programs coach children for performances or matches. Performing on stage or playing a match can be a great experience for a young child. After school programs also keep your teenagers busy. This may help insulate them from being exposed to destructive habits like drugs and alcohol. Surveys indicate that children who are kept busy through diverse absorbing activities are less prone to substance abuse, depression and burnout.
Good after school programs also increase in-school achievement and attendance and a reduction in drop out rates. Most after school programs have children interacting with one or more adults. This allows them to benefit from positive relationships with adults other than their parents.
Children often find it difficult to confide in parents and teachers, but may open up with other adults who have taken a positive interest in them and their activities. Today, a large number of children are placed into recreational after school programs so that they reduce weight and remain healthy. Today there are numerous children below the age of 16 who are considered obese. Parents who are unable to successfully put their children on a strict diet may choose sports, physical activities and games to help burn fat in a healthy way. With cases of child diabetes on the increase, this has become a prime focus of many after school programs.
A good after school program has many benefits. It keeps your son or daughter entertained as well as occupied, and thus prevents them from becoming couch potatoes, addicted to TVs and PCs. By giving them ways to burn up their excess energy and explore their creativity, after school programs help to shape their overall personality and increase their knowledge of all that's available to them in the world. Introduce them to what's out there while they're young and they'll keep those experiences and memories with them forever.
Karen Fusco is the co-author of "Busy Moms: The Heart and Soul of a Home", an ebook filled with time-saving and stress-reducing tips and ideas to help build a stronger home, a stronger family and a stronger you. Karen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org,