After a long day spent at school or learning from home, your kids need some time to unwind. During the school day, your kids likely utilize computers, laptops, calculators, and other electronics. It’s best to spend downtime at home after school without electronics so your family can enjoy time with one another. Playing video games, watching television, and scrolling through social media isn’t the most productive use of time, as it just adds more screen time to your child’s day. It’s not healthy to stare at a screen for hours upon hours each day.
Here are five ways your kids can unwind after school without electronics.
Sit and Do a Puzzle as a Family
No matter what age your kids are, sitting down and doing a puzzle is a relaxing activity. Arrange the pieces of a puzzle on your kitchen table or on the coffee table in your living room. Make sure everyone is sitting comfortably. Make a few light, healthy snacks to enjoy and add some soft music to the background. As a family, you can sit and talk while you work on the puzzle together.
Utilize this peaceful family time together to discuss your days. Your elementary-aged child may talk about a book they read in class. Your high schooler may talk about something funny that happened in history class that day. A parent who works in the electrical field may talk about a heat-treating technique they taught to their apprentice, such as normalizing, which is when a part is held under extreme heat as high as 1700°F and then air-cooled to increase ferritic grains in the steel for consistency. A parent who works in the business industry may talk about a deal they closed that day. It’s important to spend time together as a family and talk about light-hearted topics.
Go For a Walk
Elementary-aged kids don’t have the opportunities for sports practices after school like middle and high school-aged students do. If you’re looking to have your young children blow off some steam after school, take them to a local park and go for a walk together. Utilize hiking trails, basketball and tennis courts, playgrounds, and other fun activities parks in your community may offer so your kids can get in some exercise. When you take them home and feed them dinner, they’ll be tired and ready to go to bed soon after.
Relax With Coloring Books
Another fun activity to tackle after school is coloring. Print out some coloring pages from the internet, or head to one of the 28 million small businesses throughout the U.S. in your community to purchase some fun, kid-friendly coloring books. You may want to invest in a new set of markers, colored pencils, and crayons for your kids to utilize when they color. Sit in the living room or at your kitchen table and enjoy the solitude that comes with relaxing with a coloring book in hand. This activity doesn’t include any electronics, and it’s another one that allows for family time where you can share stories about your days together.
Cook Dinner Together
Do you have middle and high school-aged kids who’d like to spend some time getting to know the ins and outs of the kitchen? Have them help cook dinner. It could even be a family activity that everyone gets involved with. Teach your kids how to cook some simple but yummy meals. Show them how to properly execute different cooking methods. They may be interested in learning how to make soup, sautee vegetables, utilize an air fryer, or how to make a more complex dish. Use this opportunity to everyone’s advantage, and then enjoy a home-cooked meal together as a family.
Get Started on Nighttime Routines
For young and older kids alike, a day spent at school and then attending after-school sports practices and other evening activities, such as a ballet class or a horseback riding lesson, can be draining. While bedtime routines may not start until later at night, you may want to start them earlier in the evening after a long and tiring day. Since more than 40% of young children obtain dental cavities before reaching kindergarten, which is about age five, making sure your kids properly go through their bedtime routines is important. On tiring days, start these routines right after dinner. Have everyone in the family brush their teeth, use the bathroom, take a shower, and change into their pajamas. Everyone can get into bed early and perhaps enjoy some reading time before going to sleep.
It’s important for kids to spend time in the evenings after school to partake in electronic-free activities. Whether your family wants to do a puzzle, color, go for a walk, try out some new recipes in the kitchen, or catch up on some needed sleep, it’s good to get in some family time together and enjoy each other’s company.