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Video:How to Choose an After School Program

with Ben Hess

Parents face a huge array of options when picking an after school program for their children. Here are three big ideas to help you and your child choose the perfect after school program or activity for your kid.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Choose an After School Program

Hi there, I'm Ben Hess with About.com. Before starting your new job as chauffeur - taking your child from one after school activity to the other, day after day, I've got three ideas to help you and your child choose which after school programs or activities are the right ones to consider.

Consider Your Child's Personality

1. Match your child's personality to the after school program or activity offered. There are four main types of after-school activities that are widely available: Music lessons such as percussion, piano, or guitar can help your child express themselves in new ways. Athletics can be either focused individual performance such as gymnastics or swimming or a team sport like soccer or baseball. Both have benefits, but I'm a fan of team sports, especially for kids at a young age. Academic activities include chess club or taking a foreign language which can really help their well-rounded development and Club programs such as brownie scouts or cub scouts and they can really help an introverted child blossom.

Location and Logistics

2. Consider the location and the logistics. If you've found a fantastic after school program but it's across town, take a trial test drive to and from the location to ensure it's something you can handle. Equally important is frequency – doing that drive once a week is one thing, doing it multiple times – fuggettaboudit – it might be too much.

Practice Due Diligence

3. Do your due diligence on the organization and also the teachers, the leaders, and the coaches that your child will be involved with. As a parent, you have every right to look into the background of the organization, perhaps by checking references or the Better Business Bureau to understand the financial stability of the organization and also the types of people involved.

And be sure to check the facility itself – is the environment safe and clean? Is their adequate access to bathrooms and water? Does the room have exposed wires or electrical plugs? Are cleaning supplies stored properly?

Avoid Over Scheduling

Good luck in selecting an after school program for your child. Be open to trying many pursuits, just to see what resonates. And be careful of over scheduling – in our fast-paced, hectic world, kids need unscheduled afternoons to just be kids – play at the local park, ride bikes or skateboards, or visit the local creek.

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