After-School Activities For Tired Children. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from Isabel Fisher, Co-founder of Litte Hands Learning. Isabel will share some after-school activities that are ideal for tired children. These activities help them decompress after a long day at school/nursery. Before her son started school, Isabell had images of picking him up at the gate, getting a big cuddle and spending the afternoon chatting about what he had learnt that day. The reality couldn’t be more different! Nursery and school are full on. All day our children have been following instructions and compromising with friends, and their sensory systems have taken a battering. Remember how you feel after a long day at work.
After-School Activities For Tired Children
Books are an excellent way to relax after a long day at work. And they’re also great for children after a full-on day at school or nursery; there is nothing more soothing than curling up with a loved one to read a good book.
But you can’t just shove a book into a cranky kid’s hands at the nursery/school gate and expect it to work like a magic potion. And unfortunately—despite many parents’ anticipation of cuddles and eager conversation about their child’s day. It’s more common for the journey home to be with a bit of grump than a pint-sized chatterbox. And we shouldn’t be surprised by that, all day, our children have been following instructions and compromising with friends, and their sensory systems have taken a battering.
So, what can you do to help your little one decompresses?
I quickly learned to give my son a snack as soon as he left school. The quicker I feed my son, the better. He will often have a sandwich, a piece of fruit, crackers, flapjack, or whatever it takes to prevent his blood sugar levels from hitting rock bottom.
Don’t Force The Chat
I always ask my son how his day was, but unless he offers up more than a “fine“, I leave it at that. Sometimes we need and want some quiet time to switch off from everything that has happened. I have noticed that as he relaxes from his day at school, he slowly offers up more and more nuggets of information. I relish every one of these, but patience is required for the best results.
Give your child some time and space. When we first get back from school, my son does exactly what he wants: colouring, television, running around the garden – whatever will help him to start to unwind. I often find that he will want us to do something together after he’s had some time.
Give Them Control
From the moment our children wake up, they have been told what to do: brush their teeth, eat breakfast, sit down, eat lunch, etc. So, give them some control back and let them be in charge of what they get up to after school.
At home, we have a jar filled with lolly sticks, and on each lolly stick, I have included simple after-school activities that I know my son enjoys. So that when he is ready, he can choose an activity for us to do together (or separately if he prefers).
All these activities are open-ended; they have no rules, and there is no right or wrong way to interact with them. Now is not the time for handwriting, phonics or sums!
The Activities On The Sticks Include:
Playing with playdough is a beautiful way to release tension and can calm stress away. Add cinnamon, rosemary, and jasmine to your playdough to give the activity an extra calming element.
Water play is wonderfully open-ended, and there is no right or wrong way to engage with it. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Fill a deep tray or basin with water, add some jars and spoons, and pour water from one pot into the other.
Let them choose the book, cuddle on the sofa together, and escape wherever the story is set.
Small-world play is a beautiful way for children to act out and process any problematic situations that may have happened. So just put out some play dough and figures and see where you both end up.
Getting some fresh air can help us all feel calmer and happier. If my son chooses to go for a walk after school, he is the one to decide which direction we head in. We often return with our pockets full of various natural treasures.
Arts and craft
My son enjoys arts and crafts after school, and when his hands are distracted with drawing or crafting, he will often share more about his day. Doodling, colouring, painting with watercolours and cutting and sticking can all offer creative outlets to destress. However, my son will stop the activity and move away if I give him too much direction about what he is creating. The process is much more important than the end product.
Don’t Take It Personally
You will see the worst of your children because you are their safe space, and they know you will love them no matter what. They are showing you how they feel through their behaviour because they love you. Remember, you are the person that your children can show their vulnerability, frustration, and anger.
I hope you enjoyed that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Isabell Fisher is co-founder of Little Hands Learning, an educational and eco-friendly subscription box for children aged three and over. Every month your child will receive an exciting gift in the post containing a beautiful book and everything needed for engaging and fun activities linked to the reader.
Teachers design fun and meaningful activities to focus on critical areas of the National Curriculum. The curated books and activities help nurture healthy minds and encourage literacy skills, giving children the best start to their education. www.littlehandslearning.co.uk
Pinterest: www.pinterest.co.uk/littlehandslearninguk/TikTok: @littlehandslearning