A before and/or after school program can have many health benefits for children. Aside from physical activity, there are other strengths and values youths can gain from these programs. Studies show that getting youths involved with before and/or after school programs can decrease drug usage, prevent criminal behavior, increase moral values, and strengthen self-confidence. Building our children’s character and making sure they thrive in the future are important goals to achieve.
Here are a few reasons why children should engage in before and/or after school programs:
- Improves Academics– When children enjoy an activity, they want to do everything to make sure they can continue doing it. This can be a great advantage to monitoring their academic performances and ensuring they have the proper grades to continue with their program. This way, the programs become a privilege rather than just something to do. (Little, Wimer, & Weiss, 2008)
- Improves Classroom Behavior– Most youths cannot wait to get out of school. They look forward to going to their after-school program to have fun. If youths have something to look forward to after school, then they will make sure they are on their best behavior to make sure they do not miss out. (Huang, Leon, La Torre, Mostafavi, 2008)
- Encourages Physical Activity– A before and/or after school program can get youths active, make them healthier, and happier too. Engaging in physical activity can prevent obesity, excess weight gain, cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes, and much more. (Centers for Disease, 2010)
- Improves Social Skills– Getting youths involved with before or after school programs can help build their social skills, as it exposes them to different types of peers and personalities. This kind of interaction can also advance their ability to be more open-minded to others around them. (Durlak, Weissberg, & Pachan, 2010)
- Strengthens Family Relationships– Building the family relationship is very important. Engaging your youth in before and after school programs creates a dialogue between the parent and the child. It strengthens parental participation and youth engagement. (Little, P. (n.d.), 2018)
Getting your child involved with either before or after school programs can be a hassle. Transportation, finances and time commitment can sometimes be a limiting factor to whether or not participation is possible. Here are a few ideas that parents can do to not only get their children more involved, but to get themselves involved as well.
- Join the P.T.A- The best way to know more about your child’s academic performance and social engagement is by joining the Parent-Teacher Association. This will show you all the programs that are available for your child, and it can help build relationships with teachers and other parents.
- Talk with P.E. Coaches- If the P.T.A. is not for you, then talk with the physical education coaches from school. Learning about your child’s physical activity performances can help you find programs that your child could benefit from outside of school, as well as monitor their health.
- Build Relationships with Other Parents- Whether you join the P.T.A. or not, it is always great to build relationships with other parents. It will help build friendships for both you and your children, and it can potentially become a time-saving carpooling program.