Many parents believe that their children need to participate in a few after school programs. Reasons vary from the need to keep their child busy to the belief that these programs contribute directly to the development of the child’s natural talents. This might explain why many parents push their children in a certain direction and why they are subsequently surprised when their children, instead of thanking them and being happy, resist their plan and refuse to participate in those programs. My mission as a Parent Coach is to support you with any parental decision you introduce to your family; enrolling your child in an after school program might be one of them.
Please ask yourself the following questions:
•What is the goal you would like your child to achieve by participating in the specific program (be it playing one day in the National Hockey League, being able to practice self defence by doing Karate etc…)?
•What are some of the values, skills or knowledge you would like your child to obtain by participating in this particular program (the value of team playing in soccer, the skill of swimming or the knowledge of math)?
•On a scale of 1 (not important) to 10 (very important), where would you put this program?
•How did you choose or match this particular program to your child (her talent, location of the program, schedule reasons, the instructor, the fee, carpool options etc…)
Answering these questions will help you in choosing the best program(s) for your child, and it will also help you support your child in trying out those programs and in staying committed for the whole year. It is imperative that you have strong convictions behind every program your child is enrolled in. Some young children continue to have separation anxiety, some are overwhelmed by long days at school and the after school program may just be too much for them. That’s why it is important to know your child and to have good reasons for your program choices. When you are fully convinced that your child should take swimming lessons because she needs it as a life skill, or piano lessons because learning music helps to develop eye hand coordination and has all the benefits of learning a new language, your child detects this conviction and determination and is likely to share this conviction and be motivated to participate fully.
As role models for our children, we want and need to show our children that we value commitment among other things and this is fulfilled by staying in programs for the year.
I encourage you to carefully consider in which and how many programs you enroll your child in the beginning of the year. Once you’ve made up your mind, stick to it! Naturally some flexibility is always recommended.
Good luck and have a wonderful and productive year!