How To Blast After-School Stress

How To Blast After-School Stress

Beep beep! The bus is here. Your children are now being whisked away to a day of learning, being with friends, missing their family, trying something for the first time, being overstimulated, getting hungry, feeling timid or anxious… hmmm.

The reality I learned as the mom of a first grader last year was this: school isn’t just rainbows and BFF handshakes in the playground. (Rose-colored glasses anyone?!) There is a serious amount of pressure, structure, doubt, and uncertainty that comes with going back to school. And as wonderful, caring, supportive, and amazing as our teachers are, the reality is, that their help ends when your child gets back on the bus, or into your car.  

As parents, caregivers, and friends of littles, it’s up to us what comes next. 

I had no idea what I was in store for last year, but this year I know a few things to be true. One, my child will come home and want to release anything and everything she’s been holding in all day (and this doesn’t mean sitting down and talking it all out), and two, she’ll be hungry. The thing that surprised me the most last year was how little my daughter shared with me about how she was feeling throughout the day. I kid you not, we learned more about her year in school THIS SUMMER than at any other time during the school year. And not for lack of trying and talking, I promise you! 

My thoughts are this, our kids need to come home and know it’s a safe place to just be themselves. To be the kid that’s not perfect the first time they tried a new math skill. The kid that didn’t like their lunch that is now very, very hungry. The kid that was uncomfortable in their outfit all day. The kid that came in contact with a bully. The kid that is simply exhausted. 

We get to show up for those kids, and I have some ideas as to how we can do that. 

Food. Having a snack ready when they get home from school (or in the car for the drive home) is one tiny way we can show up, but it’s huge to them. Right away, they feel our care and they can begin to relax. 

Space. Surprisingly, they don’t want to jump right into talking about everything that happened to them during the day. So giving them space to simply be, while you are next to them or close by speaks volumes. 

Activity. My experience tells me that even though a child may come home exhausted from school, after a snack and some space, they pretty much bounce right back! Having an activity lined up is a great way to move them from school life to family life. And I’m not talking about football, soccer, ballet, piano, and cooking classes every night of the week. Something smaller, like a kids yoga video your kids can do to move their body, having a favorite book they can dive into before homework, a walk around the block with siblings, or some time in their art zone at home. 

Giving your kids the support they need, while showing them the life skills they need to unwind and transition into a different part of their day is just so important. (Like come on, I still struggle with that transition from work to mom!) Our kids truly mirror what they see, so after you are done working for the day, I suggest you join them! Join them in a yoga session, a walk around the block, trace your Calm Cards together, or read your favorite book next to them while they read theirs. Having stress-relieving tools in their toolbox will go a long way toward helping them become a grounded adult. And, it’ll help you too. 

Peace friends.

Carrianne Nackers

Artist/Founder of The Happy Apricot

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