Though some experts express the view that after school programs amount to over-parenting and over-scheduling, others opine that these could make a child more successful later in life. These programs could be run by the school, community center, the government or a non-profit organization and can have several obvious benefits; here are the most prominent ones:
1. They keep children in a supervised environment
Parents, particularly when both parents are working, may worry about what their child gets up to after school. Parents may also be concerned for their safety and security. However getting the child involved in an after school activity can help a parent rest assured that their child is in a safe and structured environment where he or she is supervised by responsible adults. The children have role models to emulate and a safe place to play and learn at the same time. Since most of these programs are run by non-profits or government agencies, they can make economic sense for parents with limited means.
2. They help a child use time constructively
Children, if left to their own devices may well while away time in activities such as watching TV, playing video games and so on. However a good after school program can help them use their time constructively – learning new skills, enhancing school material, physical play, learning a new sport, improving communication skills, learning to be comfortable in a non-home setting, etc. can all be among its benefits.
3. They can help a child learn a useful skill
Being in a structured after school activity, can help a child discover talents and aptitudes that may remain latent otherwise. They could learn a sport, learn a new skill or discover a passion that will stand them in good stead later in life.
4. The child becomes more socially aware
Coming into contact with others of the community and interacting in group settings not only helps a child make friends and become more social competent, it also helps a child develop a sense of community. The child learns about issues that others face and about how they can make a difference to others at a community level.
5. The child has less opportunity for aberrant behavior
Research has shown that juvenile delinquency and arrests peak between 2 and 6 pm on school days, which is when most afterschool programs are in progress. These programs give less opportunity to a child to engage in criminal activities, engage in high risk behavior or abuse drugs and alcohol.