During the week, as the end of the day draws near, children around the United States keep one eye on the clock as they wait for the loud “BRRRRRRRRRRRRRing!” of the end-of-the-day school bell. For some kids, this is a time of reunification with family, after school child care, or after-school activities. For others it is the signal of a long boring stretch until dinner.
After school is prime time for getting into trouble, including alcohol and drug use. Kids who do not spend time in after-school activities are almost 50% more likely to use drugs and 37% more likely to become teen parents, and are at the highest risk of being the victim of juvenile crime and violence from 3 pm – 4 pm.
Ideally, all children should have the opportunity to participate in after-school activities that are of interest to them personally. It doesn’t hurt to ask your child about preferences and to find ways within your community to tap into their interests. Academia, the arts, sports, and second-language learning are typical activities, and can take the form of weekly or daily classes or clubs.
Things to look for in after-school activities are:
1) Ratios- For younger children, the ratio should be a minimum of one adult for every ten children to ensure the safest environment.
2) Friendly staff- Those in charge should be enthusiastic, knowledgeable, even certified where appropriate. You can and should request references.
3) Appropriate environment- The space should be clean, safe, and spacious enough for whatever activity is occurring. Everyone should have access to equipment and materials.
Once you have answered “what” and “where,” “when” and “how often” are the next logical questions, and this is entirely up to you and your child. You do not want your child to be physically or mentally exhausted by the time the weekend rolls around from activity overload. Just like adults, children need down time too, and they are not always able to identify when they need a break. You can always check in with your child’s teacher to make sure school performance isn’t slipping.
Of course, World of Enrichment offers a wide range of classes designed to tap into the talents and interests of your children with engaging activities and stimulating environments. We offer a wide range of class days and times, and strive to make learning fun. Children leave happy, making parents and World of Enrichment staff happy!