A good afterschool program can turn the aimless hours after school into productive learning time. That’s a big benefit for kids with learning and attention issues. Here are six things a high-quality afterschool program can do for kids.
1. Create a sense of belonging.
If the afterschool program isn’t run by the school, children can get to know different kids than those they see at school. That means they don’t have to deal with the same cliques and social issues. There’s generally more adult supervision than on the school playground, too.
2. Improve social skills.
A good program promotes cooperation, support and respect. This can help kids feel more secure about joining a game or starting a conversation. And if they slip up, a sympathetic staffer should be on hand to remind them to take turns or stop interrupting.
3. Provide academic support.
Many afterschool programs offer structured homework help. Homework can often cause friction between kids with learning and attention issues and their parents. So getting it done during the program can make everyone’s evening more pleasant and relaxing.
Make sure that the aides or other children aren’t doing the homework for your child. Some centers don’t have teachers or aides who are equipped to handle kids with learning and attention issues.
4. Make learning more fun.
Some afterschool programs offer classes in areas like science or computers. In these sessions, there aren’t tests and students may work together in groups. For kids with learning and attention issues, these classes can be stress-free, fun and meaningful. Programs may also offer arts options like drama and music, which can help kids find new interests.
5. Build confidence.
For kids with learning and attention issues, an afterschool program may feel more forgiving than school does. The stakes may not feel as high. As a result, they may be more willing to try new things and take more risks. This, in turn, can lead to higher self-esteem.
An afterschool program can expose kids to new interests.
Kids with learning or attention issues may feel more accepted at an afterschool program.
Staff at an afterschool program can give feedback to help kids improve their social skills.