Getting your kid to relax after school is super challenging when it seems like nothing has triggered their outbursts. Trying to think between the wails, flying toys, rocking and more... well that's just about impossible. After years of trying different therapies, we finally found something that really works and it's time to share it with you.
Why is relaxing after school important for our kiddos?
When we're young, our brains are still developing and growing. This means that during the daytime, our brain is working hard, but at night it slows down a lot so that we can rest and relax. This is important because when our brain is in a relaxed state, it can better process information and make better decisions. After the day outbursts, it seems like your kiddo is drained. Truth is, they are. They're physically and emotionally burnt out.
They've Repressed So Much Energy At School
Many kids struggle with anxiety and stress at school. When they're released from school, they often have a lot of energy - but no idea how to use that energy safely and effectively. Even adults have issues with this. Think about it, you have a big day at work and have to repress a lot to make sure that you don't overstep.
What happens when you come home? You're tired and just want to relax. Don't get to do that? Then you get cranky and short-tempered. Kids are the same way. They just express it slightly differently than we do. This is especially true for our sensory kiddos.
Being able to have the time to relax is of utmost importance.
Important parts of this method
When it comes to getting your child ready for this, it's important to appeal to their sensory needs and their likes. This means finding ways to calm and relax them on the way home- with games, music, stories, or just holding them close (if you're not driving). In addition, make sure not to demand too much from them- this is their time and should be spent enjoying themselves.
Once at home, you'll want to set them up in their space. I'll tell you what we did and then give a few more ideas.
What finally worked for us, was drawing. As soon as she got home, we set her at the table with all her drawing supplies, her snack and juice. Then we let her go to town. We didn't ask her about the day, homework or anything at all. We let her get lost in her space so that she could funnel all of that pent up energy into something creative instead of something destructive.
Some other ideas include:
- Letting them sit at their legotable and go to town
- Setting up a reading nook where they can comfortably lose themselves in an alternate reality
- Letting them play their favorite video games in a cozy spot.
- Letting them play outside free from distraction. Let their imagination roam!
Find Ways to Relax When You're Not Able to Relax
If they're not able to relax, there are plenty of ways to do so without needing anything else. Some great methods include listening to calming songs, taking a bath with candles or oils, or spending time in nature with friends or family.
Benefits of giving this recharge time
When kids are out of school and free from the stress of a classroom setting, they tend to feel more relaxed. This is due to the fact that they can explore their surroundings more easily and be more creative. Home is less restrictive and more safe for them.
Building coping strategies
As neurodivergent parents choose to provide some form of relaxation for their children by creating an atmosphere where they are unrestricted in their creativity. During school there are limits on how many questions or ideas someone can ask during class, or providing them with a set amount of time to work on a project. At home they have more freedom. Freedom allows children to relax and de-stress while still learning.
Creating an atmosphere of unrestricted creativity
Another way to help children relax after school is by providing an environment where they can be creative without any pressure from teachers or other adults. This could involve setting up a makeshift studio in the living room, allowing children to paint or sculpt in peace, or allowing them access to any tools and materials they need for art creation.
Plus, there is enough space for children to move around and play freely, which helps them stay connected mentally and emotionally.
And of course... More Time for Yourself:
Think about it this way, if they are calm and situated, you are free to do the same yourself. You could sit and enjoy a book, binge watch a tv series, crochet, play games, literally anything at all. You can recharge at the same time that your kids are. Since our kiddos are mostly on the go, it may take you a bit to get used to having time to yourself, hahaha. I know it took me a while!
It's important for kids to relax after school. From enjoying their free time, to calming their bodies and minds, relaxing after school can have a profound impact on their overall well-being. In fact, there are many benefits to giving these recharge times - including less stress on their bodies, building coping strategies, creating an atmosphere of unrestricted creativity, and more time for yourself. By following these simple steps and implementing a relaxation strategy that works for your child, you're sure to achieve the desired outcome.