We all know the situation. You’ve just finished the school run and you’re sorting out some afternoon tea when all of a sudden a switched is flicked and your little one goes into a complete and utter after school meltdown.
Tears, tantrums, refusal to follow instructions and sometimes even physical outbursts can come out of nowhere and you can feel completely powerless in response.
There are ways you can take control and calm the situation that will help both yourself and importantly, your child. Each child is different, so what works for one might not work for others – you might need to try some different things out to see what the best fixes for an after school meltdown are next time round.
Some kids have a lot of pent up energy after school. Being told to sit still, listen in, do this, do that – for some children, the structure of the school day can start to get quite overwhelming.
When your child comes home let them run, let them play, let them loose outside and they’ll appreciate the room to run and let that energy out. Consider engaging with after school sporting programs that will offer a social team–based environment for your active child.
For wet weather or for kids who prefer indoors, you could also create some inside activities to help burn off all that energy. Craft, hide and seek, dress ups or games like charades will quickly help tire out any active kid.
Parents know that children can come home from school with a ravishing appetite, maybe because they didn’t eat all of their lunch, they had a sport lesson before home time or they were active throughout the day. Get into the habit of quickly filling up hungry tummies with some healthy afternoon tea or an early dinner and you might quell the meltdown.
If after school meltdowns and outbursts are frequently around dinner, it might be an idea to bring the meal forward to a time that works better for your hungry child.
Despite being in a classroom with their friends and having a teacher guiding them all day, your child might be a little starved of personal attention, so the after school meltdown could be a way of getting it.
Show interest, spend some quality time with your little one after school, be it a walk around the block, playing a game together or simply having a bite to eat and a conversation to catch up.
If you need a little break in the afternoon, why not bring in other family members? Set up Zoom, FaceTime or a good old fashioned phone call with relatives, grandparents or family friends so that your child can feel like the centre of attention.
If your child has introverted tendencies, then maybe their behaviour is triggered by feeling overwhelmed, worn out and emotionally stretched too thin. The remedy to fix an after school meltdown could be a little bit of quiet, decompression time in a familiar or special place.
Don’t immediately overload them with the regular questions about how their day was, what they learnt and who they played with. Let them take a breather, watch their favourite TV show together, read a book, or maybe even just leave them to their own devices with a colouring book or some screen time.
If you’re struggling to find fixes for an after school meltdown, we’re always there to help. Jump on the phone and give us a call and we can talk you through our programs and services – our number is 1300 003 900. Alternatively, get in contact with us online.
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