School days are long and exhausting for some children, and rather than psych yourself up for the drama of overtired emotions when they step off the school bus, here are five ways to ease your kids into a good mood when they come home from school.
- Leave the negatives for later. Kid’s don’t want to be reminded to clean their rooms as soon as they arrive home. It creates tension in children and may even make them anxious to be home or come home. Although their room may very well need a good tidy up, allow your little ones to come home and unwind before you remind them of their chores. They may have had a rough day, and the last thing they need is to be told of their short comings right off the bat.
- Ensure they have a snack ready for as soon as they walk through the door. If your children are anything like mine, they will be ravenous as they step off that school bus. Have something nutritious and filling, ready for them when they come home. Cheese and crackers, carrot sticks and cream cheese, or one of their favourite snacks, to stop the hangry right in it’s tracks. This also stops them from asking when dinner will be ready six hundred and fifty three times.
- Turn their negative thoughts into positives. While your child is being pacified with their favourite snacks, ask them to tell you a few positives about their day. Ask questions that incite an actual answer, and not just a yes or no. How did you go with that assignment you worked so hard on? Who did you play with at lunch time today? What funny thing happened in class today? These questions promote discussion and anything that was a negative can be spoken about and turned around into a positive. When children are given a voice, it opens up a pathway to their emotional needs.
- Give them some down time when they get home. It’s difficult to be at school all day with a regimented routine. They need to ask to use the toilet, they need to put their hand up to speak, they need to wait until the bell goes just to eat. The last thing your children want is to have that strict environment repeated at home. When they arrive, give your kids some free time before they get stuck into their homework. Let them go outside a bit and jump on the trampoline. Allow them to unwind by watching their favourite show on television as they are eating their snacks. Give them some time to relax and regroup after a long day at school. Once they feel refreshed, they may be more willing to tackle the things that would have otherwise overwhelmed them.
- Make time for homework. To avoid the stress that homework sometimes ignites in children, make time for homework before dinner, so that after dinner, it’s free time and/or family time. The lingering thought of “I still have to do my homework” creates anxiety and making the time to knock it over quickly and efficiently, alleviates the stress that it would otherwise cause if it were hanging over their heads like a dark cloud. Plus, once homework is done, they can get a good start on that room that needs doing!
Remembering these five little steps really helps with the after school routine and is effective in pacifying the overtired mood monster that often turns up at the end of the day.
The kids are happy to come home to a welcoming environment after a long day at school, which in turn sets the mood for a pleasant evening, free of anguish and tantrums.
What routine do you have with your children when they come home from a long day at school?