This is the first year that I’ve even considered an outside (of school) activity for Nove. She is usually so tired and overwhelmed by her long school day that anything extra just puts her in a bad mood or shuts her down completely. But, I see the benefits of after school activities and so we just went to a meeting for Special Olympics Cheerleading last night. I’ll let you know how that goes in January.
After school activities are meant to help your child develop their talent or skills by programs that are not covered in school. Some of these programs can be educational or recreational in nature.
The aim of an after school activity program is to keep your child active and out of trouble. After school activities for children are normally grouped by the child’s age. This way they can easily master a new skill while making friends their own age.
Developing new skills has the added benefit of increasing your child’s self-esteem and confidence. These activities can also open up a world of new opportunities to your child.
They may like music, arts or a certain sport and by participating in an after school club their knowledge of this subject increases. They may even want to pursue this interest further possibly into a college education.
Socialize & Make Friends
Another huge benefit of after school programs and clubs is that they get to socialize with other children. They will meet children of different cultures and kids who share the same interests as them. This is a wonderful way for them to develop new friendships.
After school activities are great for children of all ages as they keep all kids busy, from youngsters to teenagers. This can help keep them away from mixing with the wrong groups of people and possibly getting into smoking or drugs.
Research has shown that those children engaged in after school activities are less likely to suffer from depression and burnout. There is also a significant increase in achievement and attendance throughout school. Plus these kids are less likely to be the ones to drop out of high school.
After school programs and clubs have children learning how to interact with other adults. This has the added advantage of teaching them how to form positive relationships with older people.
Many times these adults are the ones that troubled kids will confide in. This can be extremely helpful for the child and allows the child to receive help from someone who is not their parent.
This is because many kids are ashamed or embarrassed to let their parents down if they feel they have not lived up to their expectations.
Movement & Exercise
Another great advantage of after school programs is that many of them are exercise based.
These include soccer, swimming, martial arts, hockey, baseball, running or even dance programs. This additional exercise helps the child to keep healthy and not gain weight. Statistics today show that obesity in childhood is becoming more of an issue and requires attention.
All these things factor into my letting Nove try the Special Olympics Cheer program this year and I’m hopeful that she’ll remain engaged and excited about doing it.