The intense demands of schoolwork may cause you to hesitate when it comes to after-school time. Although you don’t want to overload your child’s schedule, the academic, social, and physical benefits of extracurricular programs are hard to ignore.
The Afterschool Alliance, an information clearinghouse and advocacy group, reports kids who participate in after-school programs have better school attendance, higher grades, and loftier aspirations about graduation and college attendance. They’re less likely to use drugs or get into trouble with police, and – because they log less screen time – kids in after-school programs are at lower risk of obesity. Kids also develop social and leadership skills in after-school programs as they interact with peers in cooperative roles and mentoring relationships. Now that’s an impressive list of benefits!
Every family is different and so are the kids within a family. Fear of a child missing out on key experiences and important learnings can lead parents to want to overschedule. COVID also introduced a comfort in not running around (or driving) to too many activities.
Soccer, swimming, karate, violin lessons – no matter the activity, you are not alone if you find yourself trapped in a battle about going to the activity, which, one month ago, they begged you to do. I’ve been coaching families for 20 years, and this has always been a challenge. Now, after COVID, it feels even bigger. The kids aren’t alone! I know so many adults that are just not that interested in heading out to an activity anymore.
We parents want our children to thrive. And it can hurt when we see a quieter child overlooked, not chosen or otherwise left out in fun, social settings. While we know each child is a unique individual with character traits and tendencies all their own, we still want the best for them and that usually means competence in social settings.
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