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How After-School Programs Can Help Kids Build Social Skills

Social and emotional learning is an important part of a child’s growth. It involves being aware of and controlling your feelings, respecting others, setting and reaching goals, making and keeping good relationships, and making good choices. Building good social skills is important for children to become successful adults. While schools do help children develop social skills, there is not a lot of free time where they can just be kids.

Luckily, there are amazing school-age programs in Potomac, MD, that can help children build some amazing social skills. These programs can offer high-quality, beneficial social and emotional learning experiences at any time for the students who sign up.

Here are just a few ways that an after school program in Potomac, MD helps kids with their social skills.

Continuously Work on Developing Social Skills

Social skills are essential to interacting with people, forming and sustaining meaningful connections, and being successful in life. Students who participate in afterschool programs have many opportunities to improve these abilities. The playground is a good illustration of this principle since it is an integral component of any program. On the playground, children get valuable social and emotional learning, and program directors may assist in developing these abilities by encouraging regular play.

Students get valuable experience in collaboration, sportsmanship, dispute resolution, and empathy as they engage in play. To help children develop these social skills at a Potomac child care center, teachers must insist that children include everybody, encourage positive communication, intervene when undesirable actions occur, help children with conflict resolution, and encourage all children to participate and have some fun.

school-age programs in Potomac, MD

Learn to Work in Groups

Children who learn how to get along well with others are more likely to do well in groups as adults. At a time when screens threaten to take up most of a child’s spare time, giving them more chances to learn important social skills in person, like how to read and respond to social cues they can only get from interacting with peers in person, helps them make friends for life.

Help Children Learn About Self-Regulation

Students who have developed the ability to self-regulate are better able to control both their emotions and their behaviors. Because of this, they are better able to concentrate attention during tasks, ignore distractions, retain instructions for a sufficient amount of time to finish a task, and resist temptations. Afterschool leaders and other professionals may encourage goal-setting, serve as an “emotion coach,” teach self-regulation and provide engaging activities and games to help students practice their self-regulation abilities. These are all effective ways to foster self-regulation.

Healthy Self-Esteem

A strong and healthy sense of identity is essential to the growth and development of a kid. Children who have healthy levels of self-esteem enjoy positive connections with others, are able to make good decisions for themselves, feel secure in their talents, and experience a sense of value and importance in their own lives.

After-school programs are in an ideal position to assist children in this area. They are able to deliver interesting and engaging exercises that are also participatory and assist in creating good self-esteem. An example of how program leaders could accomplish this is by having a child sit in the center of a circle. The children on the outside of the circle then tell that person everything they love or like about them. This is great because it allows children the opportunity to speak wonderful things about one another.

Additionally, program leaders and staff have the chance to have meaningful interactions with kids. During these talks, they may increase the student’s sense of self-worth by providing them with positive affirmations and words of encouragement.

school-age programs in Potomac, MD

Use Physical Activity to Build Social Skills

Did you know that getting your body moving can help you establish critical abilities related to social and emotional learning? For example, many after school program directors help children foster social and emotional growth through activities such as yoga and dancing.

Through kid-friendly yoga activities, students may not only reap the physical benefits of yoga but also develop a greater knowledge of themselves, increase their self-confidence, enhance their attention and concentration, and find relief from stress. In a similar manner, dance may teach acceptance, respect, teamwork, and cooperation via the use of movement. Dancing is one activity that can assist in the development of self-control, self-confidence, excellent communication skills, and acceptance of others.

Take on Leadership Roles

After-school groups give kids a chance to try out new things and learn skills that will help them in college and their careers. When students choose activities that interest them, take on leadership roles in group projects, and do service learning, they learn important skills like how to solve problems, communicate clearly, and accept differences.

Providing Positive Role Models

Leaders of after-school programs are caring, trustworthy people who can have a big, good effect on the kids they work with. When social and emotional learning is a big part of both the activities for kids and the training for after-school leaders, adults can show kids how they use their own skills and use them on purpose in every contact with kids.

school-age programs in Potomac, MD

Teaches Problem-Solving Skills

As kids spend more time with their friends outside of school, they have more chances to learn important skills for fixing problems. Team-building, group exercises, and free play with other kids help kids learn to depend on each other to win a game or reach a shared goal. Along the way, they learn important life skills like teamwork and negotiation. They also learn how to take turns and take care of themselves and others.

Final Thoughts

Even though there is little time for social-emotional learning during the school day, after-school programs can assist kids in developing essential SEL skills through engaging and fun activities. By giving children the tools they need to succeed in both school and life, after-school programs can serve to enhance school culture.

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