Choosing the right after-school activity for your child
A recent study* has revealed that the average UK parent will spend £28,000 on extra-curricular activities before their child has reached 18. And with so much choice on the market, it’s no wonder that families have a hard time deciding which activity is right for their child.
In today’s goal-oriented society, you might be surprised to learn that the top reason that parents pay for their child to take part in an after-school activity is actually enjoyment (58%). However, the second most popular response is linked to future opportunities, with over a third (35%) stating they want to give their child ‘every chance in the world’.
In line with these recent findings, it would seem that the best course of action is for parents to opt for an activity that combines fun, enrichment and development. Grant Smith, Vice President of Education for Code Ninjas®, shares his top tips for selecting an after-school activity for your child.
1. Establish their interests
Children start to develop a passion for a particular topic or activity much sooner than you might think – any parent forced into watching the same movie over and over again can certainly vouch for this! – and will most probably communicate this to you as soon as they’re able. Nurture your child’s curiosity by encouraging them to engage with that activity as much as possible – if they’re into dinosaurs, take them to the Natural History Museum. If the performing arts are more their thing, then take them to see a show at your local theatre. Part of the process of choosing an activity is establishing their passions early on and the simplest way to do that is by exposing them to opportunities as soon as possible.
2. Give it a go
One of the great things about taking your child to enjoy an after-school activity is the enthusiasm they’ll likely approach the task with. The not so great thing? Children are notoriously indecisive. Does your child regularly change their mind about everything from their favourite colour to what they want to be when they grow up? One day, they have hopes of being a vet whilst the next day it’s all about working for NASA! If so, I’d suggest signing up for ‘taster’ sessions - most after-school activities will offer a free trial to see if their activity is right for your child.
At Code Ninjas, for instance, we invite families to take a tour of our centres, so parents can find out more whilst their child enjoys a free 30-minute Game Building Session with one of our Code Senseis. Once your child has trialled the activity, you can then have a chat with them about how they felt during the session, if they found it exciting, what they enjoyed about it, and if it’s something they might like to do again.
3. Is it a win-win?
Studies have proven that children are much more likely to retain information if they’re having fun whilst learning. So, it’s imperative to choose something that’s both fun and interesting. The best after-school activities fulfil multiple purposes so try and opt for something that will enrich your child’s development whilst also making them smile. That’s the win-win.
Coding is a great example of an activity that fulfils multiple purposes. Coding is no longer thought of as a complicated language only known to professional computer programmers. In today’s technology-fuelled society, children have more access than ever to digital tools. And many show a real passion for gaming. At Code Ninjas, kids learn to code whilst building their own video games. They gain problem solving, critical thinking, and STEM skills in a fun, safe, and inspiring environment.
4. Assess the convenience
As parents, one of our many responsibilities includes ferrying our children around between school, social engagements and their various other activities. I should know, my kids have a better social life than I do! So, before deciding on any activities, ensure it’s a convenient choice for your family – is the location easy to get to? Does the activity clash with something else in the calendar? I would really recommend taking these into consideration ahead of time.
After-school activities should also fulfil multiple purposes for you, as a parent! Often, time spent waiting for your child whilst they’re in an activity is great down-time to get some work done, make calls or run errands. Does the place where your child does their activity allow you to leave them in the care of others? Or is there a good spot for you to plug in your laptop and get some work done?
All of our centres offer flexible drop-in hours so that parents can come in when their schedule allows. When they do, parents will find that our lobby is equipped with comfortable seating, complimentary hot drinks and free WIFI, so they have a convenient place to wait for their children whilst they’re in sessions, if they choose. For a lot of our parents, this is the only peace and quiet they get all day!
Sometimes, the best plan of action when it comes to choosing an after-school activity is talking to your child about what is available to them. I would recommend doing your research, as there is so much more on offer now than there was when we were growing up, and just give it a go. You never know, you might have the next Bill Gates or Katherine Johnson in the making!
To find out more about the exciting new franchising opportunity with Code Ninjas, visit www.codeninjasfranchise.co.uk
To speak with Grant Smith, contact Kelly Ayres at Rev PR on 07895 876745 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Image attached - Grant Smith, plus hi-res image of two Code Ninjas students.