An active child is an active mind

An active child is an active mind

After-school activities are key to your child’s balanced growth

Human beings are diverse, dynamic and distinct with varied sets of intelligence, hence children need activities that will harness all aspects of their personalities

A human being is a combination of spirit and matter and hence training and education that facilitate the development of the both are essential. Cultivating one at the expense of the other leads to acute imbalance and could lead to improper growth of the child.

Real education is the one that will harness all facets of the human personality and allow the child to explore a broad spectrum of experiences. This will ensure that the child is exposed to various scenarios, realities and possibilities. It will also allow the child to acquire a wider range of skills and understand the world beyond the curated academic atmosphere.

Since, modern schools are highly focused on academics and the modern parents also tend to be overly academic-minded due to their anxiousness for their child’s success in this extremely competitive atmosphere, children usually lose out on very valuable physical and recreational activities.

Screen obsession

Adding to this is the global technological onslaught, which has the sort of magnetic pull that keeps children from doing anything else after school.

Screen obsession has assumed pandemic proportions and since its drawbacks are not immediately noticeable, parents don’t react to it the way they had reacted to the Covid19 pandemic.

Humans have been designed to be physically as well as mentally active to maintain a higher state of wellbeing. With the modern school atmosphere largely promoting a sedentary lifestyle due to the way modern education has been designed, children have become more vulnerable to physical, mental and spiritual imbalance.

Under these crises like circumstances, a well-thought out and designed after-school programme assumes greater importance. There is a greater need to draw our children out of the closet and away from screen.

Active parenting

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For this to happen, parents should take active interest and participation in the lives of their children. This involves more than taking care of their need or providing for them.

Active parenting primarily means spending more time with them either playing with them or taking them to games. Finding common interests or cultivating interests in activities that your children are interested in.

Adapt yourself in a way that children don’t find your presence either boring or irksome, rather work on cultivating the kind of bond where children would look forward to seeing you after school and would share their experience with you.

Actively listen to what they have to share and show interest in the conversation even if what they are sharing is not exciting to you. What matters more is how excited they are in sharing their experiences. This will go a long way in developing that much-need bond which will help them trust you and confide in you as they grow up.

So, what has the parent-children relationship got to do with after-school activities? Everything!

Family first

With the way modern educational calendar is designed, children get to spend very little time with their parents and siblings. But, the way our Creator has created the social structure, historically children always spent most of their time with their family members and that is where they thrive and that is where they are at their natural best.

This needs to be valued and nurtured. Relationships with parents and siblings prove crucial in developing sound and socially evolved personalities.

Studies have shown that children with higher number of siblings are more comfortable sharing their space and resources with others. Having dealt with siblings from a young age, children are better equipped to tackle awkward situations, jealousies and competitions. With siblings around, children are more likely to learn empathy and compassion.

With siblings around, it is easier for parents to design after-school activities and they could also find it safer to leave the younger children in the care of the older ones when playing outside.

Nurturing neighbourhood

Apart from having a larger family, developing a better relationship in the neighbourhood is also highly essential in ensuring that children have a greater after-school experience.

Our bond with the neighbours gives children more confidence to engage with the children in the neighbourhood, it will also enhance their accessibility among the neighbours, facilitating a richer after-school experience.

So, the benefits of having a richer, more active and varied after-school experience are obvious.

Lifelong learning:

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A well-designed after-school programme either involving parents, siblings or children from the neighbourhood will allow children to explore various facets of their own personality as well as the society. Human beings are diverse, dynamic and distinct at the same time.

According to Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner, human beings have been designed with a wide range of intelligences. This could include linguistic, logical, physical, spatial, interpersonal etc. After school activities could be a great source for children to explore their varied intellects and develop them knowingly or knowingly. It might even help them discover a skill or talent they had never known they had.

Some people enjoy physical activities more than anything else and thrive when they are physically active. Some people shine when they are playing with their best friends in an atmosphere that is open and not too structured. So for each of us to thrive we need to feel comfortable under our skins and need a conducive atmosphere.

Social and emotional intelligence:

Humans are social, spiritual and emotional beings. Hence, any education of the child should also cater to these aspects apart from focusing on the intellect.

Psychologist and best-selling author Daniel Coleman has argued in his books that there is emotional intelligence and social intelligence, developing both of which are essential for children to get along with themselves and with the world around them.

Another renowned scholar Robert Cooper says that we shouldn’t think of intelligence as happening only in the brain in our skulls. He says, all of us also have “heart’ brain and “gut’ brain, which need to be acknowledged and should be put to good use.

And these develop best when children are actively engaged with people of varied ages. There is no better way of doing this under than through after school activities.

Street smart:

A well oiled gut and a well awakened heart are essential to exercise a certain amount of emotional balance and lead a confident life. This comes only by going through the emotional rollercoasters of physical sports and games.

This will also equip children with better communication skills, problem solving, critical thinking, self-awareness and quick decision making.

Children will also learn how to work as a team and be self-reliant.

Most importantly, playing out in the street or at the community playgrounds makes children street-smart, and more than any academic achievement it is the street-smartness that comes in handy during a real life crisis.

Lean, healthy and wise

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With our increasingly sedentary lifestyle, we are facing health and well being crisis, with more and more children struggling with their weights and health these days. Obesity is a major epidemic among children the world over, which is a direct result of a less active life. This not only impacts the health but also the confidence of the child and his/her overall performance. This can only be fixed by an active, regular and meaningful after-school programme.

Research also shows that regular after-school activities also improve brain function resulting in better academic performance.

Act now

So, what more can you ask for? When one activity could help you achieve the overall growth and development of the child, why wouldn’t you let your child do it?

If after-school activities are already part of your child’s daily experience, make sure they are reaping maximum benefit from it. Make sure they are in a safe environment and make sure they are having a wide range of experiences.

If your child is addicted to the screen or prefers indoors over outdoor activities, find ways to trigger their interests in the games. If you can’t get them interested, get the help of their friends or experts. Don’t take this lightly, this is the matter of your child’s lifelong

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