Setting your kids up for success by understanding their needs at the end of the school day
As we enter August, back to school is just around the corner. Perhaps you are pushing it to the back of your mind, savouring the warmest season of the year. Or you find yourself somewhere in between, enjoying this beautiful time of year and craving the routine and structure of the school year.
This past school year felt different for many. After a few interrupted years due to the pandemic, going back to school full-time came with its challenges. Some children thrived with at-home education and struggled with returning to the classroom. Starting school was overwhelming for younger kiddos unable to attend toddler and preschool programs. Schooling is essential, but it also demands a lot of our kids in terms of energy, focus, and socialization.
As you reflect on the challenges and successes of the previous school year and begin to plan for fall, you, of course, look to set your kiddos up for success in the upcoming year.
The “After-School Window”
Understanding the critical nature of the “after-school window” is vital in supporting your child’s well-being. In the hours that follow the school day, children have the opportunity to explore the community's many activities and a need to relax and reflect.
Think of how you feel at the end of a particularly long or stressful work day.
Now consider how you feel after a great day. Your mood and energy level in the evening likely look very different in these situations; therefore, your wants and needs also look different. Kids experience this as well, and since their self-awareness, emotional regulation toolkit, and communication skills are still developing, their responses can present in various ways when their wants and needs are unmet.
Sometimes kiddos find themselves pushing boundaries, melting down, bouncing off the walls, or struggling to get up off the couch or floor; no judgment here; Savasana is the bomb! There is a term for this - after-school restraint collapse - when children compose themselves throughout the day and release their genuine emotions when they feel safe enough to do so. These responses to the overstimulation and overexertion of a long day can be both caused by as well as exacerbated by stress, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and sleep deprivation.
To support your children to grow into happy and healthy beings with balanced lives, you have the opportunity to guide them in acquiring life skills and self-regulation strategies and helping them build healthy habits.
Finding balance when creating a schedule that works well for your family takes some finesse. It involves many factors, including work arrangements and hours, childcare needs, transportation, and interest and access to various children’s activities and programs. It’s also important to consider the need for unstructured playtime and relaxation time to support your child’s development and nervous system regulation. Without these components of a balanced and healthy childhood, children are prone to anxiety, irritability, and physical and mental exhaustion.
When selecting after-school programming or creating an at-home routine, the following can be a helpful guide in ensuring that your child’s needs are met so that they may flourish throughout the day and into the evening.
Components of a Healthy and Balanced After-School Routine
A stress-free welcome. Whether you’re picking your kiddo up from school or welcoming them at the door upon their arrival home, remember that they have just finished a long day. Imagine how it would feel if you were bombarded with questions in this situation, and allow them space to decompress before inviting them to share about their day.
A healthy & balanced snack. Help your little one replenish their energy with a snack that keeps them satiated instead of causing a quick energy crash. A complete snack contains protein, fat, fibre, and carbohydrates. Some easy combos are veggies with hummus and cheese or fruit and crackers with nut/seed butter.
Allow for downtime. Make it a priority to provide free time to unwind with a choice of unstructured playtime or relaxation time. Children recharge and process their lives through quiet play and reflection. A well-rounded after-school routine includes this.
Time to move! Physical activity is critical for ever-growing bodies and overall health. Through sports, games, and movement activities, children have the opportunity to develop motor skills and constructively channel pent-up energy. Physical activities also build self-confidence and often teamwork, which carry over into other areas of life.
Structure & Routine. Particularly at the end of the day, consistency in rules and routines helps kids know what to expect and what is expected of them. Creating a structure that includes space for personal interest exploration allows kids to feel safe and supported enough to discover and express themselves.
Connection & Reflection. Guiding children through mindfulness and reflection activities helps them better understand themselves and their experiences. Fostering self-understanding and awareness from a young age allows children to build better personal and interpersonal social skills. Meaningful engagement.
Selecting After-School Programming
If after-school programming is suitable for your family, it is important to find programs that help your child thrive. That is, programs that understand children’s needs and include opportunities for learning and growth.
Giving your children what they need during the “after-school window” is one way you can support their physical and mental health and development.
Click below to learn about Üphoria Yoga’s Afterschool Programming, designed with child development and life balance in mind.
Join the Afterschool program at Üphoria Yoga:
➡️ FULL TIME (5 days a week)
➡️ PART TIME (5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 day a week)
➡️ Grade (K to 7)
➡️ Pick up from School or Parent Drop-Off
PLEASE NOTE: If your child attends any of the schools listed below please fill out the form on our website and we will reach out to you shortly.
📍SIMON FRASER ELEMENTARY (FALL 2022)
📍FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE ELEMENTARY (FALL 2022)
📍MOUNT PLEASANT ELEMENTARY (STARTING JAN 2023)
The program is also OPEN to families who make arrangements to drop off their child(ren) at Üphoria Yoga at the end of the school day.
For more information visit the link in our bio, website or call/email us directly: