Children grow up in a society that demands expertise in everything. You
really cannot sit back and decide that learning from textbooks is enough
for the overall development of your child. It's the age of specialization
and your child cannot afford to miss out on this window of opportunity.
So, scour your locality for the most advantageous programs and enroll them
for the ones you think are the best.

After school programs are basically designed to develop a talent or a
skill that is ignored by regular schools. These programs could be
educational or recreational in nature. Whatever type they are, they
basically aim to keep the child active and interested.

The most important advantage of a good after school program is that it
widens your child's area of interests. He or she is introduced to new
things, sometimes interesting, sometimes challenging. Mastering a new art
form or a new skill increases the child's self-esteem. It also allows you
to introduce your child to new career options. A child attending a music
class may decide that she likes it so much that she wants to make a career
out of it in the long run.

Socialization is another great advantage of after school programs.
Children get to meet others who share their interests and make new
friendships. An acting class or a soccer class can be lots of fun. Many of
these programs coach children for performances or matches. Performing on
stage or playing a match can be a great experience for a young child.

After school programs keep your teenager busy. He or she thus has some
amount of protection from destructive habits like drugs and alcohol.
Surveys indicate that children who are kept busy through diverse absorbing
activities are less prone to abuse, depression and burnout. Significant
increase in achievement and attendance and a reduction in drop out rates
are other advantages of a good after school programs.

Most after school programs have children interacting with one or more
adult. This allows them to benefit from positive relationships with
adults. Children often find it difficult to confide in parents and
teachers, but may open up with other adults.

Many children are put into recreational after school programs so that they
reduce weight and remain healthy. A newly emerging trend shows that about
15% children below the age of 16 are obese. Parents who cannot put their
children on a strict diet resort to sports and games to burn fat. With
cases of child diabetes on the increase, this has become a prime focus of
many after school programs.

A good after school program has many benefits. It keeps the child
entertained as well as busy, and thus prevents children from becoming
addicted to TVs and PCs. By giving them ways to burn up their excess energy
and explore their creativity, after school programs help to shape the
overall personality of the child.

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