Posts Tagged ‘After School’

Parents: 3 Easy Actions You Can Take to Boost Play for Kids!

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Fish-eye view of children on play equipment

School is back in session. But too many schoolyards are LOCKED UP after classes, especially in Latino neighborhoods, and families often lack safe places to play.

That’s why Salud America! has a new campaign urging schools to boost public access to recreational facilities. Salud America!, led by health researcher Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national program. It was created to prevent Latino childhood obesity and is based at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio (@SaludToday on social media).

Here are three actions all parents can take today to boost play for kids:

DOWNLOAD our free toolkit for parents with easy steps to achieve open use of school rec facilities!

SIGN our letter campaign to urge your state PTA association to help schools develop shared or open policies for recreational facilities!

SHARE photos on social media of recreational facilities you want kids to be able to play on, tag with #ActiveSpaces, and enter a random drawing for a free Jawbone fitness tracker!

Open and shared use policies can increase opportunities for physical activity and play among families.

Schools can adopt an “open use” policy to formally grant public access to its recreational facilities after school hours. Schools also can work with other groups to develop a “shared use agreement,” a contract that allows the sharing of school facilities for the public or groups after hours.

Don’t miss this opportunity to download our toolkit, sign the letter, and learn more about sharing active spaces photos to show support for these healthy school changes.

The future health and weight of Latino and all children depends on accessible opportunities for physical activity and play!

This post has been provided by Salud America!

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How to Find the Right After School Activities For Your Child

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Studies frequently show that children involved in after school activities experience a wide-range of social and developmental benefits. For instance, KidsHealth reports that after school activities could help children to achieve better grades and higher school attendance. What’s more, introducing advantageous hobbies into your child’s routine can help them to learn the value of time management, and teach them how to overcome the difficult emotions involved with winning and losing. In other words, children may learn the skills they need to cope in the real world, in their after school classes.

after school activities

Of course, with countless different after school activities to choose from, finding the perfect fit for your child can be a complicated task. At a basic level, it means understanding the temperament, interests, and schedule of your child. However, keep in mind that regardless of their level of interest, different activities may require some trial and error before you find the ideal option. Following, we’ll cover some tips that could help you enroll your child into an activity that builds their skills, ignites their passions, and nourishes their growth.

1. Start Slowly

It can be tempting to enroll a child into numerous activities at once. After all, this way, if they want to drop one option, they’ve still got plenty of other classes to choose from. However, it’s often much better to start off slowly, introducing your youngster to a single activity and seeing how they react.

Too many activities at once, and your child may feel stressed, and exhausted, causing them to withdraw from friends and family. Too few activities, and your child will feel bored, irritable and under stimulated. Finding the right balance between too much and too little will be a personalized journey for yourself and your child, as some are capable of more activities than others.

2. Consider Your Child’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Remember that no two children are the same — each has different needs, interests, and skills that will all become crucial in choosing the correct after school activity. Take the time to think about the areas in which your child excels, and the places where they may struggle, then create a list of after school options based on this information.

During this time, try to make sure that you don’t impose your own interests and dreams onto your child. Just because you always wanted to be a star footballer doesn’t mean your son or daughter will feel the same way. Keep in mind that it’s worth considering not only your child’s current interests, but their future goals too. The right after school activities can help to give your children crucial life skills that will enrich their lives for years.

3. Ask About Your Child’s Interests

If you’re having trouble deciding which activities will best stimulate and engage your child — ask them what they enjoy doing, or which skills they’d like to build upon. When making a short list of activities to consider, don’t be afraid to involve your child in the brainstorming process — they may surprise you with ideas you would never have thought of alone.

Make sure that you’re clear with your children about the commitment involved in choosing an after school program — particularly if they’re interested in options that have enrollment fees or costs for equipment.

4.  Consider Your Child’s Temperament

Before you enroll your child in group sports and activities, you may need to think about their temperament. For example, some children naturally get along well with others, while others prefer to spend time in their own company.

If a child who prefers engaging in structured play never has time to be alone, they may get bored and frustrated very quickly. On the other hand, keep in mind that introducing your child to occasional interaction with other children could help to boost their confidence in social situations, and improve their group skills.

5. Think about Your Child’s Schedule – and Your Own

Finally, when choosing an after-school activity, make sure you consider the time it runs, as there’s little point in enrolling your child to a class you won’t be available to get them to.

At the same time, think about your child’s schedule — as children of certain ages will have different commitments that too many after school activities could impact.

Encourage Your Child – No Matter What

Remember, even if your child is excited to join an after school team at first, there’s always a chance that they could lose interest, or want to quit. Although children should be encouraged to stick to an activity for a reasonable amount of time — to ensure they don’t simply need time to get used to it, your child should also feel free to leave a group they genuinely don’t enjoy. As mentioned before, finding the perfect after school activity may involve some experimentation.

How did you choose extracurricular activities for your children? What extracurricular activities do your kids love most?

The Benefits of Participation in After School Activities

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

The benefits of after school activities for children are wide and varied, ranging from physical benefits due to the promotion of increased activity, to psychological and social advantages. Scientific research proves that encouraging children to engage in activities after school could aid their development.

after school activities

Experts in child advancement suggest that participation in extracurricular activities on a regular basis is the best way to help children develop their individual personality, cut down on emotional stress, and enhance social or academic skills that could benefit them in the future. Psychologists even recommend after school activities as the preferred choice over confidence-building classes.

Boosting Academic Performance

Every leading study regarding the impact of extracurricular activities on child development shows that academic grades, study habits, and school-based behavior all improve when children attend regular after school clubs and team sports. After all, if a child learns something new in an afterschool activity, it could boost their understanding of school subjects — even if that activity doesn’t relate directly to classwork. Discovering that they have a talent for something can give children a new source of confidence or passion that translates into their behavior at school.

According to research, youths who frequently participate in after school activities are more likely to show greater levels of attention in class, be more engaged in school, and are less likely to develop an inclination for violent or problem behavior. What’s more, some extracurricular activities provide students with the facilities and time to pursue interests that they may not be able to pursue at school.

Improving Life and Social Skills

Regardless of whether they’re establishing new relationships, or building upon existing friendships, after school activities provide an ideal environment in which to nurture social skills and confidence. Numerous extracurricular activities work to teach children the value of working as a team to achieve a mutual goal — a skill that will benefit them in their future occupation.

Similarly, engaging with new people in a productive environment helps to strengthen independence and confidence in children. The more they explore their abilities within a new environment, the more children can build a sense of their own character, and even develop crucial leadership skills. By working with others outside of a classroom setting, youths begin to learn the value of improvisation, sharing ideas, and offering support to peers in challenging circumstances.

Creating Safer, Happier Children

After school activities offer a positive environment in which children can grow and thrive when parents are working and unable to make it home for right after school. Many adults today stay at work after the school day has ended. After school activities remove the temptation to sit in front of a television set.

What’s more, a number of after school activities promote emotional wellbeing by allowing children to work off excess energy, relax their minds, and overcome the stress associated with school life. While sports help to remove some of the tension that could have built during the day, academic clubs help to reduce the stress associated with preparing for tests by offering extra assistance and support.

Promoting Healthy Hobbies

Finally, children with a regular hobby are likely to spend less static time glued to a smartphone or screen. Not only does the time spent within a club encourage your child to remain active and away from the sofa, but the interests that they develop during those clubs will prompt them to spend more time practicing skills and pursuing their passions.

In fact, the Afterschool Alliance has conducted research into the impact of extracurricular activities on child health, and found that they are essential in promoting a healthier lifestyle. Studies of after school programs have shown that obesity levels are often much lower in program participants, with only 21% of children suffering from weight problems compared to 33% for non-participants.

Encouraging a Brighter Future

The skills and habits a child learns during his or her school years help to shape the kind of future they will lead as an adult. As a result, after school activities that promote everything from healthy-living habits, to leadership skills, good time-management, and better social or academic performance have plenty of advantages to offer.

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t push children to over-do it when it comes to after school activities. It’s better for youths to choose something that they really enjoy doing and stick to it, than attempt numerous different activities that quickly become overwhelming, and may detract from their ability to concentrate on school work.