Often, a child can return home from school and seem like a different child than the one who left in the morning. They may be extremely tired, emotional, disobedient, or just difficult. Parents can feel overwhelmed managing this after-school behavior, while their child is able to hold it together all day at school. Creating a safe space and an outlet for frustration can be crucial.
Your child is most likely experiencing the after-school meltdown.
In addition to keeping them in a daily routine before school, try some sensory strategies for after school. If your child seeks ways to expend energy, get active. If your child seems to need a calming routine, consider the environment around their after-school time. Many sensory strategies can also be in a quiet, dim, and soothing space.
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- Go for a Walk – if you have a dog, take your dog too!
- Wear a heavy, backpack and take a walk around the block (no more than 10% of your total body weight)
- Go to a playground – monkey bars, run, climb, slide and swing.
- Practice walking like different animals – crabwalk, donkey kick, bear crawl, snake, walrus walk, bunny hops, frog jumps, etc.)
- Swing outside, practice pumping the swing with your legs.
- Hanging from a pull up bar, try a pull up or two with palms out and with palms facing up.
- Go for a bike ride, scooter, or roller skate.
- Throw and catch a ball against a rebounder or against a wall.
- Jump rope.
- Play hopscotch – draw a board with chalk on the driveway, practice hopping on one foot and two.
- Use a weighted blanket or heavy lap pad for input while sitting for homework.
- Make a pillow fort and jump in it or roll over it.
- Lay on the floor on your stomach, propped on forearms to read or write.
- Sit in a beanbag chair.
- Make homework fun by sitting or lying in tent to screen out distractions.
- Try alternative seating – inflated cushion, therapy ball, standing desk or stand at a table.
- Do “heavy” work and carry laundry baskets full of clothes to help with the laundry.
- Help to unload groceries, carry, sort, and put away.
- Push a vacuum – for additional input, wear a heavy backpack.
- Roll a foam roller over their whole body while lying on the floor – on their belly and their back. Be sure to apply deep pressure.