Instead of depending on the television to be your after school babysitter, consider enrolling your kids in an a class or child development program. There are many community resources that provide fun and educational activities for after school that will keep your children well supervised until you finish your work day. In this article, we'll look at some of these helpful and inexpensive programs and how to choose the best one for your little students.
The first factors you should consider are your child's interests and aptitudes. Extracurricular activities such as a hockey school or a martial arts or dance class may be a good choice for a budding athlete, but a child with a love for music won't enjoy such a program. It's important not to force a child to participate in an activity simply because it interests you; they'll just end up resenting it. However, personal development should be a consideration. If you want your child to try new things, give them a list of activities to choose from. This will give them the sense that they are making decisions for themselves while still allowing you to monitor their education.
When choosing an after school activity, you should consider how much of your time as a parent will be involved. Will you need to drop off and/or pick them up, participate in games, shows, or recitals? Will you be required to volunteer as a coach, driver or fundraiser? If some of these activities involve going out of town, it can be very time consuming. Be very clear about how much time you can commit to these activities by speaking to the program coordinators before you sign up. You should also think about how much time your child has to commit to the activity. Activities such as learning an instrument requires practice, yet kids still need time to be kids. Don't get them involved with activities that are too advanced for their age or ability, as it will be frustrating for the child instead of enjoyable.
For most families, especially those with several children, cost is a big factor when choosing after school activities. The cost of music lessons and instruments, or sports and equipment can be substantial. If a school sponsored activity isn't an option, then look to your local community center for programs or after school clubs. Many offer excellent physical fitness courses like swimming, dance, yoga for kids, kids crafts and even martial arts. The costs are amazingly low and the programs are taught by qualified instructors. You can also look into churches and charities. Having your child volunteer for a worthy cause is an excellent way to keep them busy while teaching them new skills.
Fun and educational activities for after school are the ideal way to expose your child to new experiences and skills. Speak to them about their interests and gear their activities to this area. Do you have a child who loves rock and roll? Music lessons are ideal. Does your child live and breathe for their local sports team? Get them involved in the sport. Their enjoyment is key, so make sure that they love what they're doing. It's the best way to ensure that they get the absolute best benefits of after school programs.