How to support our children during the term to reduce the likelihood of task avoidance, sensory shut down and overwhelming feelings.
We have just enjoyed the busy beginning of what will be another busy school term. For some of us parents, the return to routine and a little more peace (ok, a lot more!) in the house was welcome. But what about the children?
As Occupational Therapists, we have observed that most of the children we have worked with after the holidays, are significantly refreshed in comparison to their final weeks of last term.
They are happier, more engaged, and more energised and all of this leads to a greater readiness to learn.
But it won’t be long until the busy creeps back in. For all of us.
Here are some ideas on how we can help our children to de-stress and recharge after a busy day at school. This will support them to be able to better meet the demands of school and activities. It may also help them to not get to the point of task avoidance, sensory shut down or feeling big and frustrated emotions.
- Oodles and oodles of unstructured outdoor play. 2 hours after school and 4 – 6 hours on the weekends. Yep, THAT much!
- Get a load of dirt delivered, visit the tip shop for different measuring, pouring and scooping implements then leave them to it.
- Instead of vegging in front of the TV every evening, pull out the cards or board games. Commit to twice a week.
- Go for a family walk around the block, up the street, to the park. It doesn’t matter where. It’s the journey NOT the destination. Its holding hands. Noticing the full moon. Running ahead because the dog farted.
- Get takeaway midweek. Eat toast for dinner. Heck, eat ice cream for dinner. Put the picnic rug in the middle of the lounge room floor and prioritise simple, stress free time together.
- Don’t underestimate the therapeutic power of bath time. Extend that warm soak with invitations to play such as plastic containers with holes poked in the bottom. Hand whisks. Funnels. Empty plastic bottles they can refill and squirt. Add a small container of magnesium bath salts or coconut oil for them explore. Caution: Extra towels will be needed in the likely event of a tsunami.
We would love to hear your strategies for supporting your child in term 3!
Written by: Bron Lucey. Mother to 3 children who share her love of the finer things in life like mud, the outdoors and general mess. Occupational therapist in her spare time.