Why after-school restraint collapse happens
At school, “Kids do what they need to in order to ‘be good’ or keep the peace,” “After they’ve done that all day, they get to the point where they just don’t have the energy to keep this restraint, and it feels like a big bubble that needs to burst.”
- Some kids become weepy, while others scream, throw things and become generally unreasonable.
- The ‘good kids’ at school use a lot of energy being well-behaved and navigating the complexities of social behavior. They wait until they’re safe at home to unleash all the pent-up emotions with someone they trust and love.
- It’s important to note that these outbursts are not tantrums where your child is testing boundaries or trying to get their way. The after-school restraint collapse is exactly that—a collapse, or meltdown, because your child is so emotionally overwhelmed that they can no longer keep it together.
How to handle this moments?
Try to fill them up with your attention before school. Give your child more of you in the mornings before school. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier and use that extra time to snuggle in a rocking chair or read a story. Just do something together full of the spirit of connection and care.
After school your kid is freaking out. What next? Make lots of room for the blow-out and validate your kid’s emotions.
That’s obviously not easy when you’re managing more than one kid, and if you’re also trying to get a snack or dinner prepared, but try to find a way.
Letting the meltdown happen can feel like a Herculean task.Try not to get triggered by it or take it personally.
Nair recommends trying to find a way for your kid to decompress at the end of the day, whether it’s riding a bike, a tickle fight, telling jokes, listening to music or simply doing nothing. This daily decompression activity can become a ritual, and help both you and your child make your way through the intense emotions. Humans love the routines, we love the safety of having a script for exactly how things are going to go. These kinds of scripts provide a boatload of safety during an emotional storm.
What about screen time as a decompression method? It’s OK as a last resort if it seems to work for your kids—as long as you fill them up with some human connection first.
Please tell us, what you doing in this case.
Oliver & Kim