When your child arrives home from school, does he go straight to the playroom and head for his toys? Does he feel cranky and exhausted afterward? And, more importantly, do you have a hard time instructing him to put his shoes away, tidy up his toys, etc?
If this scenario is very familiar to you, you’re probably one of those parents who have yet to create a healthy after-school routine for their children.
Most of the time, kids – particularly young ones who are just beginning to adjust to Nursery or school – feel a bit cooped up from hours of staying in class. While some nurseries incorporate play in their curricula, nothing can beat the feeling of playing at home at your own leisure.
This explains why your child would want to play the moment he arrives home rather than take a nap or get a snack. To help you out, this article will guide you in creating a healthy routine for your little one after spending hours at a toddler’s nursery.
4 Ways to Foster Healthy After-School Communication
Some kids tend to fly out of the classroom with a cheerier disposition and head straight to their toys when they arrive home.
But, as pleasing as this scenario might be in another time, you’re probably not in the mood to deal with it after a stressful day at work. Most parents find that going home to chores and parenting can be difficult after a busy day, which can cause poor communication with children.
With stress kicking in from busy days at work, it isn’t surprising that you might feel the need to raise your voice and nag at your child for scattering his toys around or being loud. However, exploding in a rant can be dangerous not only for your health but also for your little one’s emotional well-being.
To make sure you maintain positive communication with your child, here are some things you need to remember:
This should always be your greeting and farewell for your child, especially if he’s just starting to get used to going to school. This way, he would know that, no matter how tiring the day can be, he can always count on you to make it brighter.
2. Pay attention
Sometimes, parents forget to give their children full attention when they arrive from school. However, it should never become a habit.
Put down your smartphone when your child is speaking. This way, you’ll get to show him that you’re interested in what he’s saying. Don’t ask him how his day was only for the sake of asking.
When he arrives home or enters the car after school, make sure that you actually listen to what he’s saying. Make eye contact to show him that you’re truly listening. This will let him know that he can be open with you.
3. Focus on the positives
When talking about school or any other aspect of his life, you must make sure to focus on the positive. Never fail to mention how your child has improved and the extent of effort he put in his studies or other endeavors. Of course, you should always take note of and reward his accomplishments.
4. Go for open-ended questions
When it comes to asking about how school or nursery went, it is best to ask open-ended questions to get the conversation going longer.
Avoid questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.” Instead, go for those that can help you explore your child’s feelings and preferences.
Below are some examples of open-ended queries you can use when the awkward silence starts to set in:
- What subject do you least like in school?
- Who is your favorite teacher?
- If you can wish for a class to be offered in school, what would it be?
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- How would you spend a day when school is off?
- Which three friends would you like to invite home?
After asking these questions, be sure to have a follow-up. For example, if your child answers the question about the three classmates that he would invite home, you can try asking him why he chose them. This will give you an idea of who his best friends are.
5 Tips in Managing Your Child’s After-School Routine
When putting in place a new routine, you might need to try several options before you can find the right one.
Remember that school is a huge adjustment, especially for toddlers who have just started nursery. Since they are cooped up in school and probably tired from the day’s school activities, chances are they would be very happy to be home. But this doesn’t necessarily mean they would head straight to bed as adults would.
For children, going home from school usually means wanting to play and have fun even more. When this happens, they are more likely to get cranky due to all the activities done at nursery or school.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to your child, here are some tips on how you can create and manage an after-school routine that will foster a balance between winding down and following a structured system:
1. Create a “school station”
A “school station” is an area where your child can put his backpack, shoes, coats, and other things they brought or wore to school. Setting up such a place will help your little one learn to put things in the right place and not just dump it anywhere he likes.
2. Schedule playtime
Playtime is a vital after-school activity as it helps your child burn off excess energy while allowing his mind to have a break. Doing this before homework time or anything you would like your child to do on his own, will help him focus better.
3. Offer food
After playing, your child would want to replenish his energy with a snack.
4. Set a time for homework
According to experts, the best time to let most kids do their homework is after a snack. Older kids may need a bit more time to rest since they spend longer and more intense hours at school.
5. Set your child up for non-academic after-school activities
It would also be good for your child to have some non-academic after-school activities to create a balance in his life. It could be sports, music lessons, judo classes, or other activities that he is fond of.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily need to be an activity away from home. If circumstances allow it, you can also set up a space for him to practice activities he likes. If it’s music he’s into, you can buy him a guitar or invest in a home entertainment system to practice singing.
Foster a Healthy School-Life Balance
Children need stability in their school and after-school activities as much as adults require a work-life balance. Make sure you plan and execute everything properly by using this article as a guide.