Backyard Discovery Blog
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Why Kids Need After School Activities
When the kids get home from school, they might want to plant themselves in front of the TV or computer for hours. As a parent, it’s important to encourage them not to. There are many reasons why kids need to be involved with activities after school, from sports to music classes to whatever floats their boats. Getting your children involved in after school activities has benefits that will aid in their long-term growth and development. And of course, these activities can help your kids have fun while you get some time for yourself, and who doesn’t like that? Here are a few ways you can help your kids benefit when you sign them up for after school activities.
Allow them to explore their interests.
One of the best things about after school activities is the variety of options they can provide for your kids: from sports, to music lessons, to activities that are creative, artistic, or physical, help your children find something they like. By exposing them to a diverse range of activities, you can help them discover new passions, and maybe even hidden talents. Some activities like dance or photography classes can also inspire creativity, which will help them develop problem-solving skills and engage their curiosity. Don’t limit them, and try to be supportive if they don’t want to partake in the same activities as their siblings, or friends. Everyone has their own tastes, and after school activities are a great place to start understanding and developing them.
Help them learn important life skills.
After school activities help your child build confidence and self-esteem. When kids find an activity that they not only enjoy, but are also good at, this helps them develop self-confidence, a trait that is essential as they grow into adulthood. These activities can also help instill essential social skills like cooperation, conflict resolution, and how to appropriately interact and communicate with their peers.
Another way kids benefit from after school activities is learning time management. When they have to balance homework with their sports or other commitments, they learn how to prioritize and organize their own time. This is an essential skill for success in college and beyond. They also learn how to set and reach goals. For example, if a child is taking piano lessons, and there is a recital coming up, the process of practicing and preparing for the final show can help him or her understand how to work towards, and eventually achieve, a goal. And ultimately, achieving that goal successfully will give any child a great confidence boost.
Boost their academic performance.
While some after school activities like tutoring or test prep courses are designed specifically to complement what kids are learning in school, the mere fact of being involved helps kids improve their work habits. Whether they’re improving their skills with a program like Mathletes, or taking their mind off school by running on the track team, it’s no surprise that activities after school can help kids do better in school. Help encourage kids to find something they can become passionate about. And if you find that they are struggling in school, find an activity that makes learning fun, where they can feel comfortable getting the extra help they need.
Teach them healthy habits.
While after school activities certainly help develop interpersonal skills, they can also help your kids get the amount of physical activity they need. From sports teams to dance classes to swim lessons, you can find the physical activity that is best for your kids. The sooner they start to make exercise part of their routine, the better off they will be in the long-run. So get your kids off the couch and on the field, where they can not only experience the health benefits of exercise but also learn the value of teamwork, while hopefully having fun too. The camaraderie of after school sports can help your kids feel good and make friends, while understanding and using teamwork will help them throughout their lives.
Take the pressure off.
The main goal of after school activities should always be for your kids to relax, and have fun. As soon as activities get too intense, stressful, or competitive, it may take time to reevaluate. Talk to your children and make sure they are benefitting from their chosen after school programs. Help them gain social skills through their interactions with other kids and learn how to be respectful of others.
So do your part to aid in your children’s development into well-adjusted, confident adults by encouraging them to partake in after school activities. Try to be open to the possibilities and expose them to interests and strengths they can discover within themselves.