5 ways to help kids keep their cool after school

Help your children to relax with these chilled activities

You’re looking forward to picking up your little one after school because you have parental amnesia and you’ve forgotten, again, that the chid you pick up from school is not the same as the one you dropped off that morning.

Morning child laughs, holds your hand and chatters non-stop. They sing with the birds and wave at old ladies and high-five the postman.

Afternoon child drags their feet, demands snacks and cries if you say the wrong thing (and, yes, everything is the wrong thing).

Apparently, if you’re lucky, back-to-school meltdowns wear off as kids adjust to their new school or class. In the meantime, try these daily decompression activities to help your child (and you) get through the evening.

TOP TIP: take some simple snacks to the school gate – try carrot sticks, apple and cheese – to give them an instant happy boost!

1) Super spotting: go for a mindful walk

On the way home from school, plan to take it slow and enjoy the walk. Comment on the nice things you see (leaves, birds, clouds), rather than trying to have a conversation about school. If you can, have a quick trip to the park so they can let off steam.

2) Model pupil: kids can chill out with play dough

What you’ll need: play dough

What to do:

Working with play dough is a sensory way for kids to slow down. Challenge them to roll it to makes snakes and snails, squish it to make monsters, or bash it (if they need to!). If you have it, give them purple dough – it’s supposed to be a calming colour.

3) Water the plants: give children an outdoor task

Send your kids outside with a watering can or water bottle and ask them to water the plants. Can they look out for minibeasts or collect different coloured leaves to show you? Doing a simple task outdoors in the fresh air will help to reset them (and give you 5 minute’s peace!).

4) Colour me happy: do some mindful colouring

What you’ll need: crayons, pens and colouring books

What to do:

Settle kids down to draw you a picture or colour in. Colouring is supposed to be mindful because it helps you to concentrate on one thing. We’re not sure that works for 4-year-olds (the ones we know can colour, fidget and demand an ice lolly all at the same time). But it helps to give them something quiet to focus on. Find them here!

5) Brilliant bubbles: wind down in the garden!

What you’ll need: bubble mixture and wands

What to do:

Give the kids their own bubble mixture and wand, and have them blow bubbles outside. Can they poke, clap and stomp to burst the bubbles? See how to make the mixture here.

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