Homework, extracurricular activities, and chores, oh my! After school can feel overwhelming for our tweens with all the activities throughout the week, their increased homework load, and the stress that comes with schoolwork. It can be easy to neglect healthy sleep habits in favor of completing school work. We can help our tweens get the rest they need and manage homework and school stress.
The tween years serve as a bridge between childhood and adolescence and are a time when our kids are really beginning to assert their independence. Through all of this, we still want to prioritize their rest and help them with ways to manage school stress.
Create an After School Routine
We have a bedtime routine to signal our body it’s time to rest, our morning routine helps us start the day on the right foot, and now we need an after school routine to transition from school to home. Create an after school routine that allows your tween time to decompress and also keeps them on track with their school work.
This routine should feel good to your tween and they should have some input. We know homework will need to be done, but maybe they need to come home and have a snack and relax a bit before starting their school work. Their home should be their safe space to unwind and we want to allow them that time to do so.
Keep in mind with this routine that homework should ideally completed about an hour before bedtime. This helps limit screen time before bed and allows for that wind-down time we want before rest time as well.
Plan Ahead so Homework is Spread Out
This is a great time to introduce a planner if your tween is not already using one. We can help them to map out their work load and teach them how to manage this so they are not overwhelmed. They can make a plan to allow them to work a bit each night rather than cramming all their work the night before it’s due. We have the chance to set the foundation for their learning career.
We know school work can be a source of stress and having a plan for completing it can reduce some of that stress.
Make Homework a Time for Connection
Reframing how we view homework can also be a helpful way to manage school stress. Use it as a time for connection with your tween. They may not need help with every assignment but even sitting with them and being present if they do need help can build that connection. Make homework more enjoyable by allowing your child to choose music to listen to, where they would like to do the homework, and let them choose which assignments they want to complete first. Learn alongside them and allow them to see you make mistakes as well.
You may find they begin talking about their day or their worries during this time. Allowing them the time and space to open up can help manage their stress and you are building your connection as well.
Keep Their Schedule Manageable
There can be so much pressure to join every club, sport, or activity that is available to our tweens. Narrow down their interests and encourage a few activities but try not to overload their schedule. This can help relieve stress as they have time to complete their required homework and still have time to unwind after school.
You can help your tween with time management by having them undergo this process with you. They should have some say in their extracurriculars. Impart the importance of sleep and ensure their schedule still allows rest to be a priority.
This time between childhood and adolescence can be a new road to navigate and it can seem overwhelming. Remember tweens are still growing and need sleep to aid in that growth. Homework can become a stressor but we can help.
If you are looking for more help our This Tween Loves Sleep online program can be a great starting place. Click here to find out more.