There are many benefits associated with aftercare programs. They have been shown to keep kids engaged in positive activities and away from negative ones, they reduce general student risk factors and they help kids find greater confidence in their schoolwork. But one benefit that should not be overlooked is the social aspect they contain, and how much that socialization time can help kids grow and develop.
An opportunity to improve social skills
Aftercare programs are designed in part to give kids a safe environment in which they can socialize with their friends and peers in a less formal, slightly different environment than they get during the standard school day.
Kids involved in aftercare have more time to spend with each other in a less-structured environment. There are staff members on hand to make sure the experience is positive for all the kids, to assist with homework and to guide certain activities, but the focus is on giving kids a place to interact and have fun in a low-stress environment.
During these programs, kids will also be able to interact with some of the other kids they may not know as well, or get to see as frequently during the school day, depending on which classes they’re in. This opens up more opportunities for making friends that go beyond just the kids they see in class every day.
Why is socialization important for children in particular?
Socialization is critical for children from a very early age. As infants, social development is closely tied with other areas of a baby’s development, which is why doctors and behavioral psychologists recommend socializing with other children as early as possible. It helps children to develop a sense of self, and to get a sense of what others expect out of them.
As children get older, they pick up more and more on social cues so they can learn what behaviors are and are not appropriate. By the time they reach grade school and middle school, socialization is crucial for helping children learn how to be good teammates, how to work in groups together and how to treat others with kindness and respect.
Another factor to consider is the increasingly digital nature of education. Schools are using more technology in their curriculum than ever before these days, which is an exciting thing, but also makes it important for parents to be intentional about giving their kids breaks from screens, and opportunities to interact with other children. The socialization aspect of aftercare is crucial in this regard, as kids are spending more and more time in virtual environments. High-quality aftercare encourages interpersonal interaction, problem solving, creative growth and bonding in a way that is often lacking in today’s society and educational world.
At Flex Academies, our mission is to provide outstanding afterschool enrichment and before- and aftercare to help your students grow in confidence socially. For more information about enrolling your child in before- and aftercare, contact us today.