Going back to school is an exciting time for families. Parents get to have a little bit more time of their own than they’ve had in a while, and children get back to classes to learn new things and spend time with their friends. The back-to-school season might also be a little bit of a stressful time for your son or daughter.
As a parent, you know that disruptions to the daily routine can be a bit challenging for children on the spectrum. You probably work quite hard to keep things as “normal” as possible throughout the week and keep such disruptions to a minimum, which means some end-of-the day relaxation and fun might be just what your whole family needs.
Here are a few of our favorite tips for relaxing and unwinding after a long day or even week at school.
GET OUTSIDE AS A GROUP
Children typically have recess, but that means they’re spending literally hours each day cooped up in classrooms and focused on learning. That also means your child is likely full of pent up energy, and running around outside is always a great answer.
Studies have shown that time outdoors, exercising, and getting fresh air all have healing benefits that can help reduce anxiety and stress, alleviate depression, improve mood and focus, and more, meaning you’ll be doing something great for everyone’s health.
Play tag, go to a park and climb on jungle gyms, or just sit together and discuss the day — just be surrounded by nature while you’re doing it.
HAVE SOME ARTS AND CRAFTS TIME
The homework is done and dinner has been had, so what’s more fun than unwinding with arts and crafts? Play with something fun and oozy like homemade slime, build with blocks, color pictures with scented markers, paint with watercolor paints, or make fun models out of modeling clay and watch as they bake in the oven.
Getting your child’s hands into a project will be educational, informative, and relaxing, not to mention creative and fun.
TRY YOGA FOR FAMILIES
It is widely known that yoga has myriad health benefits, including improving flexibility, boosting blood flow and circulation, calming breathing, toning muscles, rejuvenating body systems, improving focus, relieving sleep issues, enhancing coordination, and reducing anxiety and depression. The fun animal names for poses make yoga great for parents and children alike, and yoga for families can provide great bonding opportunities that bring you closer together while also furthering your creativity.
Consider signing up for a yoga for families class, or purchase a DVD program that you can do as a family from the comfort of your own home. You can even have your family members all create their own pose.
READ A BOOK TOGETHER
Sure, your child might be in class reading and learning all day, but who doesn’t love the opportunity to read a favorite book in a cozy chair or while tucked into bed? Make sure it’s a favorite story, one that your child knows and can enjoy.
Read it together, making funny voices for each of the characters or pointing out your favorite parts of each picture. Play a game imagining what each of the characters is doing outside of the story pages, letting your creative juices flow.
Hope these fun activities help after a long day at school or over a much needed weekend, and provide your child the mental and physical relaxation needed.