Working parents struggle mightily with the issue of how best to deal with that time after school lets out but before they get home from work. After school programs are a popular method for taking care of kids during the hours of 3 – 6 pm but sometimes these programs amount to little more than herding kids into a big room and making sure no fights break out. Handling this grey area of the day effectively can go a long way toward setting your child on the right path so it’s imperative to get them into a something like a martial arts-based after school program at the MAT center.
The Difference Between Adequate and Great After School Programs
After school program directors basically have two ways of looking at the kids in their care. They can see them as problems that need to be handled or as valuable resources to be nurtured and developed. Kids are not unaware of the signals adults send with their actions. If they feel they’re being baby-sat they’re going to rebel and little good will come from the program. If, however, they feel engaged and paid attention to they’re likely to respond in productive and surprising ways.
Here are the 5 things we believe separate professional after school programs from the rest.
- The best programs devise activities for the young people that emphasize cooperation and developing strong, mutually beneficial relationships with adults and other kids.
- The best programs identify your child’s strengths and then take the time to devise ways to develop those strengths.
- A great after school program will provide a platform for youngsters to develop and demonstrate leadership skills whether through games or real world activities.
- They teach young people the value of conflict resolution and how to diffuse potential conflicts by finding and cultivating common interests.
- They help your child develop their own autonomous personality without doing so at the expense of others in the group.
Kids, even hard to reach teenagers, never really stop learning whether they’re in the classroom, in after school programs or on the street. The goal is to make sure they’re learning things that will help them later in life and not learning things that could see them wind up in jail. The fact is, all kids want positive experiences. They only become jaded and disinterested when they think they’re being misled or poorly led or that the adults in their life don’t care about them.
Properly nurtured young people are the ones who will build tomorrow’s world. Studies have shown that kids who are left to fend for themselves or are placed in what amount to little more than babysitting situations are far more likely to drink, do drugs, smoke, engage in risky sexual behavior and have run-ins with the law. So when you’re selecting after school programs for your kids, whether it’s a martial arts program or something else, it’s crucial to find one that will recognize his or her special gifts and encourage them through creative activities and proper guidance.