Over-scheduling kids

Several studies are expressing a growing concern that after school programs are pressurizing kids to do too much too soon. They point out that when a child’s afternoon is filled with classes, trips, sports and other forms of organized activities, kids do not really get the time to be just kids. They are even being deprived of the cherished family time. Undoubtedly, there are children who are being burdened with a schedule that places too much demand on their time. This leads to increased levels of stress on the child and the family. As regular studies cannot be ignored, children are almost always on the run to achieve more. Such children are really bearing a burden that is too heavy …

Need for after school activities

When children are literally up to their gills with the learning and sport activities in school, it may seem superfluous to enroll them for after school activities. In spite of this, after school programs are sprouting up in large numbers and most of these are booked full. This shows that there is a real need for after school activities. The unavailability of parental supervision is the leading cause for the surge in after school programs. It is seen that many children spend about 20-25 hours a week unsupervised and alone at home. And as the saying goes, “An idle mind is a devil’s workshop”. Children who are left alone to contend with too much free time invariably fall into the …

Keeping children motivated

Initial enthusiasm in after school activities tends to wane after the first excitement is over. This is but natural. The trick is to keep up the hard work even after this. How do you keep your child motivated? This is of particular importance when the child goes in for educational after school programs. Make the career-academics connection early on: Let your child understand how important studies are. Let him know that an excellent career is wholly dependent on wholesome learning. To develop his interest in studies, plan family activities that are connected with his studies. Emphasize the real-world connection to academics whenever possible. Set goals: Let your child know, through example, that hard work will be rewarded. If your child …

How to find after school activities

Start off by making enquiries. Nothing can beat the power of information. Approach the school authorities first. Find out if they are offering any after school activities. Get a list of the various classes that are available in your school. In case the school does not provide any extracurricular activities for the child, approach your neighbors. Collect information about any after school programs, the quality of the courses taught and the timings etc. Also, check out some of the community resources. These may include places of worship, community centers, Museums, libraries, the YMCA, The Boys and Girls Club etc. After you have colleted all the necessary information, discuss the various options with your child. Find out what his interests are. …

How much is too much?

Should your child go for the football practice 5 days a week? Are 3 days enough? It is common for parents to be a little confused when it comes to deciding how much is too much with reference to after school activities. They argue that since most of the activities are fun (as different from studies), children will simply lap up these classes. But, too much of fun can also make a child sick. Here is a simple guide that will help you decide how much is too much for your child. Kindergarten: Your child is just beginning to learn to interact and get used to discipline. His or her after-school life should be simple and carefree. One or two …

Effective after school activities

When there are so many activities on offer, and each one looks as good as the next, how do you gauge the worth and effectiveness of these activities? Sure, you want an activity that junior enjoys. But, we really cannot afford to waste time on pleasure for pleasure’s sake, do we? There needs to be a grain of gold somewhere in there. Given below is a list of characteristics that any good after school activity must possess. Clarity in objectives and goals is the first important thing. What does the course offer? How does it propose to achieve the results? How many kids make up a batch? Ask questions. After all, when you are dishing out the dough, you really …

Developmental after school programs

As a child grows into an adult, different aspects of his physical, emotional and mental self needs development. To help a child reach his full potential, it is necessary to recognize the child’s developmental needs and abilities. To be effective, after school programs should assist children with tasks they must accomplish during each stage of development. A child’s growth curve can be divided into three main parts: 1) Young child (ages 3-5) 2) Middle school (ages 6-8) 3) Older school (ages 9-12) The four important domains of development are: The Physical Domain, the Social Domain, the Emotional Domain and the Intellectual Domain. Each of these domains needs to be separately addressed during the various phases of a child’s growth. After …

Boring after school activities

Why does Lisa grumble when it is time for her to go for her piano lessons? How come Johnny abhors the sight of his skates now? After all, these children were very enthusiastic about the programs when they started off. What happened? Parents are often confused by the disturbing and often incongruous signals they receive from their children. One day the kids are excited about the new theatre class and in just a few short weeks they wail and moan when it’s time to go. The first thing a family should do when a child begins resisting a previously loved activity is to listen and investigate. Do not jump into conclusions. A little bit of intelligent sleuthing is required. Ask …

Too much of school

When my mom finally decided to take that plum posting as a Divisional Head, I knew I was in trouble. Her office hours stretched way beyond my school hours. And anyway, I was privy to the many discussions my parents had about ‘Honey, what do we do with the kids?’ Well, finally they struck gold – an educational after school program. Won’t that be just grand? Kids are learning new things while parents are happily minting greenbacks! And so, we went directly to another class after our school. The brochure said that they would be ‘using fun activities and innovative teaching methods to fill the gap in your child’s understanding’. I suppose they meant that the teacher would write down …

The Learning environment

There is often a trap in the words ‘after school activities’. One may easily believe that since these activities are after school, they are not of much importance. But, one couldn’t be more wrong. Research suggests that children pick up some of their most important skills from after school programs. That is why children who do not participate in any extra curricular activities are generally slow and less vibrant. The learning environment that one fosters in after school activities must be as disciplined and as functional as that found in the school. This is especially true of educational after school programs. This is the best place to teach the child important skills like time-management and goal setting. Time-management is a …