Do your kids come straight home from school and plop in front of the television? Not the healthiest of lifestyles. As a mum, I know that turning off the idiot box after an hour or so spells trouble. Ever wondered how children spent their after school hours before the invention of gadgets and gizmos?
Well, for the most part, they would get together in groups and engage in a variety of outdoor and indoor games. Many well-to-do families would hire tutors to teach their children music, art and craft. The not so well-to-do helped around with household chores or just frolicked outside the house. What a marked change today presents!
There is not doubt that technology has taken forward in leaps and bounds as they say, but somewhere along the way, it is taking up more time and space in our lives than it should. Filling up your child’s after school free time with worthwhile and fun activities will not only help the body to grow but also the mind.
- Find out what your kid enjoys doing and then explore the prospects from there. If his friends are already involved in some activity like the boy scouts, ask him if he would like to join as well. He may be more willing to leave his Playstation if he can hang out with his friends doing something fun.
- Encourage them to join a club. Most kids enjoy the company of other kids. Pick out after school activities that give them the opportunity to work in groups.
- Many schools have after school activities like community service, school newsroom, special projects, and organizing and managing school events. They often conduct camps, charity drives, carnivals and a host of other fun events that your children could get involved in.
- Sports are a great after school activity to get your kids involved in. They not only spend their time interacting and building relationships with other kids but also get plenty of exercise. Ask them if they would like to try out for a school letter in any sport they enjoy.
- If your children have a creative bent of mind, send them for art and craft classes where they can not only benefit from working with other children but also get to apply their artistic abilities.
- If your child is old enough, encourage him to do odd jobs around the neighborhood and earn some pocket money. This will teach him responsibility and the best ways to constructively use free time.
Tips and Warnings
- Check bulletin boards at the school, community center and church. These places almost always have something happening.
- Limit internet and computer time. Allow your kids to use their computers but make sure they stick to a time limit. The internet is a big place where children can spend endless hours sifting through appropriate and inappropriate information. This will make them want to do other things as well. Children should spend less time on social networking sites and more time in social environments in the company of real friends rather than virtual ones.