Why Kids Benefit From After-School Programs

Every parent knows how important school is for their child’s growth during the K-12 years. However it doesn’t just end when the bell rings at 3 P.M. After-school programs are a great way to further improve your child’s development.

They’ll have vital interactions in a positive environment and learn skills they’ll need for college and beyond.

Here are a few of the advantages of enrolling your children in an after-school program:

Increases Academic Effort and Decreases Likelihood of Skipping School

After-school programs offer the opportunity for kids to not only work on their homework but to get help if they need it. Your child may feel more comfortable working on school assignments in a slightly less formal environment where they can ask questions at any time. Some programs, like the Boys and Girls Club, also have tutoring services or college prep courses.

There are other programs that introduce kids to mathematics and the sciences, getting them excited about these subjects. This can lead to better efforts in school courses and less absent days due to skipping because the child may be more interested.

Fewer Emotional and Behavioral Problems

Your child can also benefit from after-school programs both emotionally and behaviorally if they feel a positive connection to other people. The relationships that are nurtured between staff and children in an after-school program help by focusing on good character traits. Your children will learn lessons like open-mindedness or how to be respectful of others because that’s what is expected of them.

It’s always a great thing when your child can meet new people and learn how to interact with them – they may just make a new friend or two. A study by the Boys and Girls Club found that teens participating in their programs showed decreased shyness and aggression. Your child may find an adult role model they can trust, who can provide advice or just listen to any issues.

Improves Leadership Skills

Developing leadership skills is another important result of children participating in after-school programs. The Boys and Girls Club study revealed that 82% of teens in the program took part in leadership roles such as student council, being in charge of activities or assisting in the office. There are also opportunities for volunteering and attending conferences in areas your child is interested in. Joining in activities like these will set your child up for success in the future because they’ll learn good work habits needed for college and the professional world.

Helps Keep Children Physically Active and Learn Healthy Habits

Not only will your child have character-building experiences in after-school programs, they can also burn extra energy through physical activity. The YMCA presents a wide variety of sports programs where your kid can learn how to swim or play soccer. She will learn why it’s important to be physically active in addition to sportsmanship and teamwork.

After-school programs may provide healthy meals and snacks, especially important during the middle school years, in an after-school program. Staff members can also educate your child on proper nutrition, something that they can use for the rest of their lives.

Sources

Shernoff, D. Engagement in After-School Programs as a Predictor of Social Competence and Academic Performance. American Journal of Community Psychology, 45, 325-337.

Arbreton, A. Bradshaw, M., Sheldon, J. & Pepper, S. (2009). Making Every Day Count: Boys & Girls Clubs’ Role in Promoting Positive Outcomes for Teens. Retrieved July 28, 2014