The benefits of afterschool activities for kids 

What do Taylor Swift, Elon Musk, and Barack Obama all have in common? No, they’re not just successful household names. They also all participated in after-school activities when they were children! Whether you want your child to become the next big success, or just want them to reach their full potential, after school activities are super important in helping them get there.

It could be anything from music lessons, to sports, theatre or art. Whatever the program or club, when children are signed up for after school activities that they actually want to be a part of, they can reap so many benefits. Read on to find them out.

Relationships don’t start and stop in the schoolyard. In fact, children need relationships outside of school to keep them consistently emotionally secure. That’s why one pretty clear benefit of after school activities is the relationships and social skills that they foster.

Experts say that after school activities are the best ways for a child to find their own individual personality and to learn how to interact with others. You can see it in junior sports - they learn turn-taking, sportsmanship, working with others to achieve a common goal, and other important life skills. But your child doesn’t have to be a sporty one. Activities like music, theatre or even volunteering are also great ways to encourage children to work with others outside the classroom, helping them learn the value of sharing ideas and offering support to others.

Signing your kid up for after school activities should be about finding something they’re passionate about. More importantly, it’s about finding something they will want to do their best in. So these activities are not just time-fillers or babysitters. They’re there to allow kids to explore and learn more than just what’s covered by the class curriculum. They learn things in different ways and in the “real world”. Plus, when children find their hobbies and interests at an early age, they tend to make better decisions in the future. And as a parent, you’ll get to see their strengths and weaknesses, what they like and don’t like.

All of this brings about a great sense of belonging in the child. They’re not just working with their classmates here, they’re working with others that share their love of soccer, piano, drama or whatever it is. They can feel they belong somewhere because of it, boosting their overall happiness and healthiness!

After school activities also give the children a chance for self-realisation. They realise they have a talent for something or how they’ve improved in it since they first started. It can do wonders for their confidence which would help in other areas, including school! Think about this: Your child tells you they want to play basketball. Their first training session is clumsy and not very good. But they have fun. They are in a relaxed environment and so they’re willing to try new things. After a few sessions, they can now dribble the ball. They don’t get hit in the face anymore. They can do it! They gain self-esteem. They gain self-confidence which makes them willing to be more attentive and engaged in actual school classes. Studies show that school grades and behaviour improve when a child attends after school sports or clubs. 

After school activities also offer great opportunities for children to become leaders or, at the very least, build good communication skills to give them an active voice. They will spend less time after school on the couch watching TV or on their phones, and more time making meaningful social interactions and building more confidence in their real-life interactions.

So how do you get your kid to balance after school activities in a healthy and rewarding way? Children are overall happier and healthier when they are doing things they actually want to be doing. They’re also at an age of experimentation and discovery. If you can, let them experiment with after school clubs or activities until they find one they truly enjoy. Don’t force them to ‘commit’ to something that they don’t have an interest in anymore. And don’t forget to leave ample time for free play and relaxation - these are still crucial for development too!