When you plan to enroll your child in an after-school program, it is important to remember that children should be supported and placed in a class that fits them; e.g. their personality, talents, and skills. Considering the amount of time, money, and effort involved with after school programs, forcing your children in the wrong program will be a waste.
Know Your Child's Interests
First thing you have to do is to know what they want. Present them with the classes available and let them decide. If not, take note of the talents and skills or the activities that are of particular interest to your children. This will help you decide upon the classes that are most suitable. If your children are particularly inclined toward drawing, then your cue is that an art program would be a perfect. The main goal for doing this is to make sure that your children end up doing what they really love and not just what you would love them to do. They will only end up resenting both you and the program; it will become a source of hostility between you.
Make Sure its Age Appropriate
Next, make sure that the activities selected are age appropriate. It is important that your children are mentally and physically able to perform the activities the class requires. This will help to ensure that your children will enjoy it; learn from it; and develop a sense of confidence and well being. We often hear how great athletes and artists got their starts from activities they participate in during their youth; however, not all children are driven early on in life. Ask about the ages of the children in the class to make sure that your children will be able to interact well with them.
Try a Trial
It may also be important to consider taking trial classes before committing to a program. Your children's expectations may be very different from how the class actually is. They may be very enthusiastic about learning how to draw but then they may not like the setting or the instructor. Try to sit in on one or two sessions of different programs from different organizations and then let your children tell you what they did or did not like. This may also be done when deciding between numbers of programs (in the event your child has multiple interests).
Factor in the CostsBefore you really enroll your child in a particular class make sure that you know how much it will cost you. Programs vary in cost; some may incur additional expenses such as those which require children to wear uniforms or costumes, buy instruments, etc. It is important to avoid pulling your children out from a class that they love and enjoy because mom and dad can no longer afford it. This will only generate hostility towards you.