Keeping them busy?


New Member
Do you all do anything specific to keep your difficult children busy after school? My daughter seems to blow up every day lately and I was thinking it might be a good idea to keep her out in public (stores, post office, bank, library, etc) as much as possible in order to avoid blowups. The problem is that my 2 and 4 year olds get very cranky during the hours of 3-6 and I'm usually cooking dinner. My errands are usually done in the morning before lunch, but I was thinking if I put off all of my running around til after school, I keep my daughter out of trouble and away from the tv and the computer. The only problem I see is that she might be too tired for homework in the evenings after dinner and her work (although she is barely passing to begin with) might suffer.

I mentioned all of this to a friend who suggested forcing her to do an after school physical activity to get endorphins flowing, make her feel good, make her too tired for tantrums, etc. Karate comes to mind, since she does need to work on self control.

I don't know why I'm typing all of this, maybe just to toss it out there and see if anyone has any thoughts or suggestions that I might want to think about?

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
During warm weather mine were never inside to watch tv or do computer. They had to be outside enjoying the weather and getting some exercise like riding bikes or something.

An activity might help if it won't stress you out to get her there, and if you think she might be interested. But I'd be sure to find something she is interested in, otherwise it may be yet another battle.



Well-Known Member
My boys were in rec sports from ages 7 till they aged out. It was very good for them.

You could try sports, cheerleading, dance, gymnastics, clubs, just about anything.


Active Member
A class in something would be good, and it would give you time with the younger two. But not every day, it would be too much.

If she is doing her homework in the afternoons, and she is blowing up in the afternoons, could there be a connection? Can you talk to the school about cutting homework? It was our biggest battle and frankly, I don't think it added much to their overall education.

What about a visit to the local library? It would be a quiet place for the other kids, sufficiently public for dd1, somewhere where homework COULD be done (plenty of resource material, AND computers) as well as plenty of recreational material too.



Active Member
A lot of 12-year-olds come home from school tired and in surly moods. difficult children just have less ability to keep it under control.

You really need to determine the cause of afterschool blowups. Frequently they are brought on by built up stressors from the school day. Adding on afterschool activity may help but then again it may add to her stress and you could have an even worse problem on your hands when she arrives home a few hours later.


Well-Known Member
I think pinpointing why she's having the behavior issues is important before trying to add something that may cause more stress and anxiety.

I know for my difficult child, coming home is important. It's tough holding it together for 6 hours and he needs to chill. That does mean computer or tv for him - he needs the time to unwind and not worry about performing, etc. We have, over the last couple years, had him do some limited after school activities, but he has asked for them (science, drawing, chess). I will tell you, that on days when he had "had enough", I would actually get a call from him saying "Mom, I don't want to stay for drawing class today." Sure enough, when I would go pick him up I could tell that he would not have been successful in the after school class.

Perhaps allowing her to come home and chill for an hour or so, without making demands on her, would be helpful. It would be worse if both she and the younger two were all surly at the same time out in public!!!!!!! Set aside her down time after school, then set aside her homework time. If the homework is the culprit, that needs to be addressed seperately.

I woud try giving her some unstructured down time after school. If you have an issue with too much tv or computer, give her a specif amount of time for that after school so she can be alone, then make playing outside, or with legos, or her barbies or something else the next step. Then, homework and dinner.

When my children were younger like your two little ones, I always planned and prepped my dinner in the morning when they were happy and playing. Then, when they got fussy or demanding, I just had to pop something in the oven, ect.

Another idea would be to involve her in some neighborhood sports league which tend to be less competitive and maybe only meet once a week to practise and then once for a game. Perhaps your local parks and rec would have some cool after school program once a week.

Good luck.


Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Try as I might my easy child just doesn't like to be busy after school-it puts her in an even worse mood-we've learned to just let her be for awhile although now that the weather is nicer she has been walking the dog and that seems to relax her.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
I'd like to add that transitions are hell on kt. The transition from school to home is stressful for her.

I give her time to chill. Home to a snack & downtime. Now that the weather is pleasant, kt likes to get her scooter out & ride up & down the sidewalk on it. After about an hour of this, she's ready to talk if need be - many times she just needed to blow off some steam or process her day.

While you want to help your difficult child it shouldn't disrupt the entire family or put everyone's schedule totally out of whack.

Just something for you to consider.


Active Member
I have the same problem with Missy. She needs to have a few snacks then down a book, watch tv, ride a bike. If I ask her to do her homework when she gets off the bus, we are certainly in for a meltdown.

I was a bit gfgish and I can remember needing down time after school at that age too.

If you do go out, keep it light. Going shopping with a difficult child and two little ones is asking for trouble. There are some stores with childcare while you shop, at least where we live. Perhaps you can find that and just shop with her.


Well-Known Member
Maybe I should elaborate about rec sports teams.

My boys played 3 sports a year and I had the younger two in them. Older one played only football. So we were running to practices or games almost every afternoon and saturday after about 5:30 or all day on saturdays.

They thrived on it.

We live out in the country and they were home from school by 3. They would hit the yard wide open, run in the house for a snack and a drink, and be back out in the yard running and playing until about 4:30. Normally their snack was something they could take in their hands. They had no interest in sitting TV was out for them. Unless it was thundering or lightening, they were in the yard. They stomped in mud puddles, climbed trees, fished, chased the dog, hunted frogs and snakes, built forts, you name it, they did it.


New Member
I agree with Janet

Both of my children were involved in some type of sport

It gave them a release from everything else going on. They learned teamwork. It gave them confidence and they learned to set goals and achieve them.

I draw on my experience in playing sports to this day, I think it is wonderful

difficult child played three sports and easy child went from cheering and gymnastics to volleyball currently, hopefully she is going to receive a scholarship next yr to attend a major university and play v-ball there.

There are endless possibilities with playing sports and in my experience it has only helped my children and me as well


Active Member
I agree with the others- if you can find something that is an outlet for your difficult child- really enjoyable - great! I recall when my difficult child was about that age and I asked the pediatrician why he hated me because he came home evry day wanted to yell and scream, the dr said it doesn't mean he hates me, it means he's been holding stuff in all day and is finally around someone who he feels he can "let it out" with, without being punished- he said at worst, it meant my unconditional love was being taken for granted. after that, i started just letting him snack, hang loose, and made sure i tried to ask about any thing he wanted to talk about or get off his chest. this seemed to help. i wish i could have found an outlet that was a stress-reliever for him- like sports- that he liked.