By Carmen Sognonvi, originally published at http://www.urbandojo.com

After-school programs are critical for working families because they provide supervision for kids while parents are at work. But there are many benefits for children beyond that.

After-school programs for kids can…

1. Improve kids’ school attendance and test scores
Numerous research studies have demonstrated that students enrolled in after-school programs get better grades and miss fewer days of school than students not enrolled in after-school programs. According to the non-profit organization AfterSchool Alliance, 45% of students enrolled in the federally funded after-school program 21st Century Community Learning Centers improved their reading grades and 41% improved their math grades.

2. Prevent kids from being victims of violence
According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, juveniles are at most risk of becoming victim of a violent crime during after-school hours — between 2 pm and 6 pm. By keeping kids off the streets during this critical window of time, after-school programs can help keep children safe.

3. Keep children out of trouble and on track for success
AfterSchool Alliance reports that kids who don’t spend time in an after-school program are 49% more likely to have done drugs and 37% more likely to become a teen parent. After-school programs can help keep kids away out of trouble by keeping them engaged with constructive activities after school.

4. Help kids develop better interpersonal skills
Children who participate in after-school programs have better social skills and improved self-confidence, according to the U.S. Department of Education. In this way, after-school programs set up children for success later on in life by developing the interpersonal skills they need to thrive in the workplace.

5. Combat childhood obesity by keeping kids active
The journal Applied Developmental Science found in a study that elementary school students enrolled in an after-school program were less likely to be obese and more likely to be accepted by their peers. Since many after-school programs incorporate fitness and sports, they can help keep kids healthy and active.

Photo Credit: Mwesigwa on Flickr

The after school program here at Sidekicks Family Martial Arts Centers includes school pick-up, martial arts classes 5 days a week, and plenty of time for other fun activities and even time for homework as well. To learn more about this awesome program visit. http://www.lithiamartialarts.com/lithia-fl-after-school.php

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