As per The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition, children and adolescents should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise/physical activity every day. This not only helps in improving their overall health, but also boosts academic performance.
Let us take a look at how physical activities affect academic performance:
- Better Cognitive and Motor Skills: The dynamic interaction between cognitive and motor skills during physical activities help in improving attention span and coping levels which help in academics.
- Academic Behavior: Physical activities improve academic behavior by promoting a positive range of behaviors such as organization, attendance, planning, scheduling, on-task behavior and more. Kids who engage in after-school physical activities enjoy superior allocation of neural resources for better working memory tasks in class.
- Higher Attendance: Children who participate in any form of physical activity during school hours or after school are more likely to enjoy better health than those who are sedentary. Better heath translates into higher attendance and good grades in the long run.
- Better Sleep: Sleep is crucial for optimal brain functioning as it affects how neurons interact and communicate with one another. Children who are physically active tend to enjoy better and deeper sleep which impacts their brains functioning and academic performance. They have reduced stress and anxiety levels and are calmer and more focused throughout their school hours.
- Problem-Solving Skills: Team work and competition are usually a part of physical activities. These skills also help in academics as they teach kids the value of setting goals and achieving them. They learn how to solve problems in order to get the desired result. This makes them more focused, consistent and resilient even in academics.
- More Energy: Children who are engaged in one form of physical activity or the other are more energetic in the classroom. Physical activity rejuvenates the mind and body as a result of which children are fresher and more alert during their learning sessions. They have a better understanding and retention power of what is taught in class.
One of the best ways of encouraging children to be active is to engage them in an after-school club where a variety of physical activities are available for children of different age-groups. This will not only improve your child’s academic performance, but also his/her mental and emotional health. Physically active children are more engaged and motivated in the process of learning due to which they are more likely to get higher test scores and grades.
Life enhancing programs such as those provided by Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas help in exposing kids to essential life skills beyond academics. The programs train children to be self-sufficient, confident and resilient in the face of real life situations. They help children develop positive behaviors and leadership skills.
Listed below are the benefits of life enhancing programs for Kids:
- Social Interaction: The programs teach children how to form positive interactions with different kinds of people. It helps them make friends and learn the value of team work when undertaking group tasks. These abilities make them confident while interacting with others and also help them understand other people’s perspectives.
- Self-Reliance: Children are encouraged to be self-reliant at the clubs by completing tasks by themselves and taking responsibility for their actions. For example, programs like Passport to Manhood encourage young boys to participate in activities that make them more responsible and accountable for their actions.
- Time-Management: Programs like Goals for Growth help kids learn how to complete tasks within a given time. Activities included are developing new skill sets, serving others, improving their school, self-improvement and more. They understand the value of allocating time for different activities throughout the day and completing the same within the given time.
- Decision-Making: From an early age, it is important to guide children about the value of being able to make decisions as this will affect future decisions related to their careers and life. The programs offered help in instilling the value of decision making and teaching kids step by step how to make small decisions while progressing to bigger ones.
- Financial Management: The best time to teach kids the basics of financial management is from the moment they can understand basics such as addition and subtraction. Through dynamic sessions, mentoring opportunities, field trips and participatory activities at the club, children are encouraged to learn the importance of budgeting and saving.
- Resilience and Adaptability: The club offers programs like the SMART Moves program (Skills Mastery and Resilience Training) for helping members develop assertiveness, refusal skills, role playing and engaging in responsible behavior. This helps them overcome peer pressure and develop self-control when faced with situations that are not in their best interest.
- Learn the Value of Healthy Habits: The healthy lifestyle programs offered at the club help children learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices. Interactive sessions that consist of activities and discussions that reinforce healthy habits are held. Children are given tips and lessons on physical fitness, healthy food choices, mental health, positive relationships and developing positive recreational habits.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Texas
offers life enhancing programs such as good character and citizenship and healthy lifestyle programs. Details about what each program consists of can be found on the club’s website.
Character building activities refer to activities that foster morals and values in youngsters. These activities help youngsters develop emotional intelligence for handling all kinds of situations as they grow. A good way of engaging students in character development activities is to involve them in after-school activities that focus on instilling kindness, honesty, respect and empathy. Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas provide a variety of activities that focus on character development e.g. Goals for Growth, Keystone Clubs, Youth of the Year and more.
Listed below are ways in which character development activities benefit students:
- Instill Values: As children grow and interact with different kinds of people in the society, they require certain values for healthy relationships. They need values like compassion, empathy, respect, honesty, discipline, etc. These can be taught through specific activities under the supervision of responsible adults. The Million Members, Million Hours of Services at Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas is a program dedicated to instilling values in youngsters.
- Emotional Skills: The activities make youngsters resilient individuals by teaching them ways with which they can regulate their emotions during challenging situations. The after-school activities help them practice good judgment and resilience. They are also encouraged to exercise self control when it comes to risky behaviors amongst peers. Youngsters learn how to say no when required and also how to remain balanced in all kinds of situations.
- Leadership Skills: The activities aim to strengthen their leadership skills, goal setting abilities and teamwork capabilities which are beneficial in personal and professional situations. The programs offered revolve around academic performance, community services, interpersonal skills and career preparation. When students interact with other students at an after school club, they learn valuable life skills like conflict resolution, sharing, socializing and more.
- Encourage Diversity: Exposing youngsters to activities that demand working together in a team towards a common goal teaches them the value of appreciating unique capabilities of one another. They develop respect for others and learn the importance of working together in spite of difference of opinions, backgrounds, cultures and more.
- Better Academic Performance: Children who a part of after-school activities that emphasize good character are more likely to perform better academically. The reason for this is that the activities help them understand the value of hard work, commitment and dedication to a task at hand. They apply the same principles in their personal and academic lives which lead to positive results.