Ever notice how your kids sometimes behave well in school, yet manifest negative mood patterns once they're home? Counselor and parenting educator Andrea Loewen Nair calls this the “after school restraint collapse.”
According to Nair, when the kids are at school, they tend to hold back their emotions and behave according to how the school expects them to. Home is the only place kids know they can safely release their emotions, which may explain the crying, whining and sometimes, even disrespectful behavior.
To pevent any unpleasant episodes resulting from “after school restraint collapse,” Andrea suggests three simple strategies.
1. Start with a simple greeting.
When she arrives from school, instead of asking how her day was, try to greet her with a smile, a hug, or even a kiss and say something positive such as “I’m happy your home”.
2. Limit after-school activities.
According to Andrea, your child needs a “brain break”, so avoid asking her to do her assignments right away. Allow her to decompress. Offer some snacks and drinks to replenish herself.
3. Stay connected.
Connect with your child even when she is already in school. Try leaving her a note on her lunchbox, or even buy a matching bracelet or any accessories that you both can wear. You can also think of a special morning activity or routine to brighten up her day.
Remember, never resort to punishment when your kids start to have a meltdown. Validate their feelings and let them know that you are not angry about it. You can also provide ways for them to relax such as walking outside, taking a bike ride, playing music, dancing, and reminding them to take deep breaths. It may be hard to deal with it in the beginning, but seeing them calm and happier will all be worth it.