Activities after school don’t just keep restless kids busy or entertained. They can also offer great developmental benefits that will help them academically and socially.
Mixing with existing friends in a new environment helps children learn to share and appreciate each other’s talents and abilities.
HOW? By about six or seven, children start to see the value in working with other children to achieve something they want. Even if that’s just working as a team to score more goals than the opposition in a game of football!
Engaging with new friends and being in a productive environment helps strengthen confidence and independence.
HOW? When they all have something in common (a passion for gymnastics, art, outdoor crafts), children have a head-start on forming new friendships. Getting to know children outside their existing group encourages their sense of independence.
Developing and succeeding in new activities helps build character and enhance strong leadership skills.
HOW? As children play or work together outside the classroom setting they start to improvise what they need to do to make a task or game work. By talking to each other they learn to support and share their own ideas to help and guide others.
After-school activities can play a huge part in supporting academic learning.
HOW? If your child is learning something new this can often directly or indirectly boost their interest and understanding of a school subject. It could be that playing an instrument helps them understand music lessons, or simply that a love of tree climbing and star-gazing makes them appreciate science classes.
Realising they’re good at something boosts a child’s enthusiasm and confidence in the classroom.
HOW? Even if an after-school activity is not directly related to classwork, it can give your child a renewed enthusiasm for a subject in more subtle ways. Discovering that they have a talent for or just enjoy performing in a drama club, for example, can do wonders for confidence in speaking up in class, or could inspire their creative writing.
After-school activities help children find ways to tackle their homework.
HOW? Some after-school activities provide the opportunity to research a project or pursue an interest in ways there aren’t the time or facilities for at school. Knowing they have this added advantage over classmates often inspires a child to complete a project or even lead a new assignment.
After-school activities give children something positive to do when parents are working.
HOW? Parents of teenagers are often still at work when the school day ends. Being alone is boring and hanging around on the street with other kids can seem more exciting than going home. Having an activity to go to creates the ideal distraction.
After-school activities provide kids with positive role models they can relate to, offering a fresh perspective outside home life.
HOW? Sports coaches, group leaders and other responsible adults who are sharing their skills provide a valuable new take on the world for children and especially teenagers. For example, if you’ve got tired of telling your son to keep his sports kit clean, seeing that his basketball coach always looks good in a freshly washed tracksuit might actually do the trick!
Children with a hobby are less likely to spend too much time in front of the television.
HOW? It’s not only the time spent at a club or class that keeps your child or teenager off the sofa – if they develop a new interest they are much more likely to devote hours to practising or working on it at home or in the park.
Why not check out some of our other tips for keeping the kids happy through the week, during term time?
• How to set Computer time rules your kids will stick to.
• Easy, nutritious After-school treats to refuel your little ones before it’s time for tea.
• Tips to Encourage your child to try a new activity.