Increasingly, families are either two-income households, or single parents working long hours, just to provide the necessities of life. Thirty years ago, I was a rarity as a “latchkey kid”; now this is very common. The problem, compared to my generation, is that there are fewer good options for kids to stay busy and occupied on their own. It is less safe for a child to ride their bike or go play in a park by themselves, or with a small group of friends. When I was my son’s age, we had four broadcast TV channels. The video game system at my house was “Pong”. school entrance mats
Compared to those limited choices, children of today have far greater potential for trouble, to see or get into things that you as a parent do not want for them. As a parent in a two-career household, I sure don’t want my child sitting at home playing video games or watching television unsupervised. Many schools and day-care centers have specific “after-school” programs just to cover the 2-3 hours in the day between the time the kid is done and the time Mom and/or Dad come home from work.
Not only is there a business opportunity in this market, but a growth opportunity for your children. Would I rather them stay at school with a group of teachers and volunteers who are worn out after a long day of doing their job, playing disorganized games in the gym or having free time on the playground? That’s better than them being at home, left to their own devices. But, in my mind, it’s not ideal. We should want more than that for our children.
A growing number of martial arts schools are looking at offering after-school programs, spring break & summer camps, and other offerings beyond the traditional class schedule. The studio is somewhere that I want my child to be anyway; he has friends from the training he currently takes, he admires and respects the head instructor and his assistants, and I know it’s a controlled environment. Kids with poor attitudes and the ability to be a bad influence are not nearly as likely to be there as a “we have to take everyone” program like at an elementary school.