After school programs are a great way to make sure that –after the school bell rings – kids have some place to go where they can make new friends and learn new skills.
One of the biggest ways an after school program can benefit kids is by keeping them off the streets and out of trouble at a time when many of them are vulnerable. According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center, it’s the hours between 2 pm and 6 pm – when most kids are dismissed from school – when the highest amounts of juvenile crimes occur.
After school hours are also said to be the peak time for children to get involved in risky behaviors such as alcohol and drug. Kids who are not involved in after school activities are also 49 percent more likely to have used drugs and 37 percent more likely to become a teen parent.
Many child development experts believe that after-school programs can benefit kids by preventing youth violence, improving academic achievement and allowing them to develop into responsible adults. Both the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice have found that students in after-school programs had fewer behavioral problems, were more self-confident and were better able to handle conflict.
After-school programs are also a great way in which a child can get extra academic help. Through tutorials, advanced classes, mentorship and support programs and others, a child can get the attention and support they need.
After-school programs benefit your child by allowing them to develop interests and hone talents and skills. Due to dwindling resources and time, some non-academic skills such as arts and sports, can be neglected during the school day. After-school programs are often the only places where a child can develop a skill that could be ignored during the regular school day.
Aside from developing a child’s talents, an after-school program can benefit their sense of self. The recognition and appreciation that a child gets from becoming skilled in something like an art or sport can boost their concentration and self-esteem. They can also learn the values of teamwork and develop better communication skills.
Socialization is another benefit of after school programs. By spending time on something their interested in, in the company of others who share that interest, they can make new friends and learn how to better relate to others.
After-school programs that encourage physical activity or are set outdoors can also be beneficial to a child’s health. Nearly 30 percent of kids under the age of 19 are overweight and spending too much time indoors in front of the television or computer doesn’t help matters.
If you are a working parent, enrolling your child in an after-school program has the added benefit of helping relieve stress. Instead of worrying about your child getting involved in criminal activity, or even worse, becoming the victim of crime, you can be confident that your child is spending time in a safe environment and under the supervision of a capable adult.
After the school bell rings keep your child safe and entertained by enrolling them in a credible after-school program. Check out the schools and community institutions in your area to find the best ones that suit both you and your child’s needs.