It's more popular than ever for children to be enrolled in afterschool activities. The physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of such programs are plenty. With today's academic pressures at their highest, they're also necessary! Children who participate in after-school programs may experience decreased stress, increased focus, boosted immunity, and higher levels of confidence.
Kids need to move
All children, especially at the elementary school level, are made to sit still for hours every day. This is the exact opposite of what children want and need to do. Kids are designed to be active, loud, energetic, and expressive. So, after a long day of taking notes and quizzes, it's great for kids to be able to get moving and creative. An after-school martial arts class, dance session, gymnastics workout, band practice, theater rehearsal, or sports game could provide the perfect outlet for your child. A little bit of sweat and fitness will balance out a long day of mental exercise.
Take a breath of fresh air
According to the American Lung Association, 7.1 million children younger than age 18 suffer from some form of asthma. Physical activities, like the ones found in many after-school programs, teach children to breathe correctly. Learning to take deep diaphragmatic breaths can increase lung capacity and heart function.
Deeper breathing develops a more active mind-body connection, which is an essential tool for success.
Taking slow and deep breaths can also help children who suffer from stress and panic attacks. Oftentimes, test anxiety and academic performance issues can be alleviated with controlled breathing techniques.
Shout it out!
After a long day of being told to sit quietly and pay attention to a teacher, children are eager to unwind and get loud. Martial arts, sports, and other fitness classes offer a great way to let out that suppressed energy. In such programs, being vocally expressive is part of a good curriculum. Interactive games and training drills also allow the body to "shout it out" after being still all day.
Better, faster, stronger
Dance workshops, martial arts classes, sports leagues, and gymnastics programs enable kids to improve physical health and foster motor skills. Increased timing, faster reflexes, better focus, sharper hand-eye coordination, and better agility are just a few benefits of these programs. With each passing season of participation, your child's confidence will grow, as will her bonds with peers and teammates.
Engaging in additional academics after the last bell of the school day has rung can be daunting for some students. Kids who have a break in between class and homework in the form of a beloved after-school program have an advantage. They get to recharge their brains and bodies in beneficial ways. Once it's time to settle down for homework and studying, they'll be refreshed and ready to jump back into their educational tasks.
After-school programs have a long list of benefits and value for children. They can improve physical health, enhance focus, reduce stress, and encourage confidence. Is your child already experiencing the myriad pros of programs? If not, look to your local calendars, libraries, school postings, and online message boards for tips on where to enroll!