How to Keep Your Kids Safe, Healthy and Productive After-School

3 young teens sitting together.

Every mom in the world wants to keep her kids safe and on the right track. The fact is that there’s more to staying on the right path than simply turning in your homework on time.

For both boys and girls, staying out of trouble is a major concern. If you live an area where crime is high, you don’t want your kids to get involved, even in a peripheral way, before they graduate high school.

From after-school programs to sports and more, keeping your kids busy after school and out of trouble isn’t an impossible task. Helping them stay active can even help them succeed in school if you do it right.

Who Gets in Trouble?

Teenagers of all races and socio-economic status can get into trouble after school. Unfortunately, teenagers don’t always know what’s best for them, or have the judgement needed to stay out of trouble.

Keeping tabs on your teenagers isn’t always as easy to do though. As a parent, it should be a main focus as your kids get older and move closer to college and adult life.

Any child can get in trouble, and that’s why parents need to remain vigilant until their teenagers mature into responsible adults.

Know Your Child’s Schedule

Parents of teenagers often find it hard to keep tabs on their kids all the time. As your kids get older, they start to have a more active social life and look to assert their independence.

Knowing your child’s schedule is something that you still need to do as your kids are turning into adults. For most parents, having an idea of where your kids are at any given time should provide some peace of mind.

Talk with your children about their schedule and don’t be afraid to check-in from time to time. As a parent, it’s your job to make sure your kids are where they say they are and doing things that will benefit them instead of getting into trouble.

Creating a communal calendar with teenagers can also be helpful for parents. As your children get older, it may be hard to remember their complex, busy schedules without a little help.

After all, some kids can have sports practices in the morning, school during the day, study groups in the afternoon and other school-related or social events in the evening. Stay on top of what your child is doing to keep them out of trouble.

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Consider Sports

Not all teenagers are interested in sports, but even those with a passing interest may find a beneficial activity in them. While many school teams are fairly competitive and require commitment and skill at the high school level, they also create discipline and give your child something to work hard for.

Intramural programs are also fairly common in high schools, and these accept a far broader level of skills. As long as a teenager enjoys being active and playing a sport, from basketball to track and field, intramural programs may be there as a free or low-cost after school activity to keep them out of trouble.

Employ After School Programs

After school programs are ideal for students who need more structured extracurricular activities in their lives away from home. In many cases, the more free time kids have, the more likely they are to get into trouble out of sheer boredom.

Finding after school programs for your children can seem difficult, but most schools maintain lists that can help you find something that’s appropriate for teenagers. Many online resources are also available to help parents, including the National After School Association and After School Alliance.

Give your child activities that they enjoy and they’ll be a lot less likely to end up in trouble because of idle hours spent with friends and peers.

Help with Homework

As your child enters high school and gets closer to college, homework becomes more and more intense and challenging. For some students, the expectations and pressures that go along with this more rigorous academic life can be difficult.

One of the best things you can do with your teenagers is to help with homework. Even if you can’t do the difficult equations most high school kids are taking on anymore, you can be there to set up a productive environment for them to work.

Get involved in your child’s academic life and work with them to create a study and homework schedule at home. Building this time into their lives can keep them focused, disciplined and out of trouble.

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Regular study and homework hours can also help them achieve more in school. Helping your child succeed in school can make them less likely to seek out trouble as a major distraction.

Volunteer at School

If you’re a busy parent, the idea of volunteering at your child’s school and getting another task on your plate might seem a bit crazy. You probably don’t want to make your child feel like you’re spying on them at school either.

Volunteering at your child’s school isn’t a way to spy on them though, and chances are you won’t even see them that much during the short period of time that you volunteer. Instead, you’ll get a better feel for the school and learn more about what programs are available in your area.

You’ll also build relationships with faculty members and other parents in the area who can keep you informed regarding school issues and your own child. Everything from tutoring other students to working as a library assistant or working special events like fundraisers can help you learn more about your child’s school and environment.

Joining any parent-teacher groups available to you is also a relatively small time commitment that can offer a lot of insight about the school and your child’s performance within it.

Conclusion

Keeping teenagers out of trouble isn’t always easy for parents who have other responsibilities like work. Even managing your child’s busy life while making sure house and home is provided for can be tough.

Using a combination of parental supervision and after-school programs though, you can help to ensure that your teenager stays on the right track in their life. Working to help your kids stay busy after school can keep them out of harm’s way and help them build discipline and reach goals to build self-esteem.

After school programs can also help kids succeed in school, improving their chances for a brighter future. As a parent, you want the best life possible for your children, so working to improve their teenager years is a no-brainer.

Before you know it they’ll be out of the house and leading the healthy, happy and productive lives you always dreamed they would have.

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Dawn is an experienced classroom teacher. As a mom of four, she has learnt many ways to keep life and learning fun. One of her favorite pastimes is sharing her life's lessons with others.