Uncategorized

When The School Bell Rings

3 After School Activities
That Will Leave Your Child Begging For More

We’re deep into September.

In fact, we’re so deep into it that we’re almost out of it.

As the days grow shorter, it’s hard not to notice that back-to-school weight we all seem to carry.

With extra activities, groceries to be bought, dinner to be eaten, and school lunches to be packed, the weight of stress falls heavier on our shoulders.

It’s about this time that most parents begin to realize the benefits in after-school activities.

children extracurricular info graphic

Image from Census.gov

Whether you have one, two, or five children, after-school activities give the parent back some time to get done the stuff that needs getting done.

But what about the preschooler in your life?

Many—if not most—after school programs are designed for school-aged children. Unfortunately, this leaves many parents scrambling to keep their preschoolers busy at all times, making those few hours after work increasingly difficult. It is not impossible, however.

With a little research, it’s easy to find an activity for your toddler that will keep them busy and active throughout those last few daylight hours. Whether you and your spouse are in work until 6pm or you need the extra time to get life together for the week, an after school activity will leave your child happy and fulfilled. Before deciding on an activity, however, be sure that a program is what your child and family truly need.

Ask Yourself:

  • Will your child be able to handle the extended time away from you and the family?
  • Will this extra time be beneficial for both you and your preschooler?
  • Will your wallet be able to take the financial hit?

If all of these questions seem perfectly amenable to you, then it’s time you consider these three solutions for after school toddler care.

Sports/Dance

You might be thinking, but my child can barely even run?! You wouldn’t be wrong, of course, most toddlers are just in the early stages of their fine and gross motor skills. The benefit of signing your preschooler up for a sport or some dance lessons after school is that these skills will be defined much earlier. Though they might not be rushing out to sign up to join the San Diego Padres any time soon (though we would use the helping hand), it will help with coordination, balance, and much more. The same holds true for dance. Dance at a young age promotes balancing and encourages flexibility in toddlers. Many programs are available for toddlers as young as four-years-old throughout different times of the year, meaning that you’re able to test the waters across the twelve months.

Popular Sports/Dance Programs:

after school program infographic

Image from AfterSchoolAlliance.org

  • Tee-ball/mini soft-ball
  • Gymnastics
  • Ballet
  • Pee-wee football

In all cases, your child will benefit from being encouraged to work with a team, interact with people, and practice their physical developmental abilities.

Daycare

A popular option for many working parents, daycare centers provide after-school care for children of all ages (including children within the first year). A great decision for those parents who are unable to leave work on time to pick up their preschooler, daycare centers often provide pick-up and drop-off services, adding to your convenience. They are usually fairly cost effective and encourage mental and physical development while in their care. A good daycare will promote healthy standards of eating and living, while helping children engage in after-school play.

Things To Look for In Daycares:

  • A good reputation
  • A qualified and caring staff
  • Health and safety standards
  • Up-to-date licensing

Keep in mind that many preschool centers offer after school care that is similar to daycare for your child as well. Check with your local San Diego preschools to see what options are available to you.

nanny infographic

Image from SheKnows.com

Nannies/Babysitters

Though more expensive than the other options, hiring an after-school nanny can help alleviate the stress from your shoulders. Nannies and babysitters watch your child for a set amount of time each day while in the comfort of your own home. They encourage age-appropriate learning and do not simply take a seat on their phone for the time that you’re away. Nannies/babysitters are particularly effective if you use them for other activities or events, such as nights out for you and your spouse, allowing your child to remain comfortable in the familiarity.

Things To Look for In Nannies/Babysitters:

  • Be sure to pay attention to how well they interact with your child during the interview
  • Consider whether or not they ask questions pertinent to the job they’re expected to do
  • They will promote health and safety, while providing educational stimulation for your toddler
  • Make sure they seem both reliable and trustworthy as they will be handling your most prized belonging—your child
  • They provide several references—be sure to check with these references before hiring someone on even a temporary basis
  • They are willing to provide a trial-run to see how the child interacts and how you feel about their duties

What after school activities have worked for your preschoolers?

Comment below with your tips, tricks, and advice!

You may also like
Join the Club: the Babysitter’s Club
What’s In A Preschool?