If you have school-aged children you’d be familiar with the foul moods, crying and tantrums that can sometimes come at the end of a school day. It feels like as soon as you get home your child turns into some kind of monster.
Well, there’s a name for that. It’s called “After-School Restraint Collapse” and it’s what happens when children let go of built up stress and frustration once they are in the comfort of their own home (and are with the person they love most).
What does it look like?
Some kids become teary and emotional, others act in a rude and disrespectful way. Your child might refuse to do their homework or become completely unreasonable. It depends on your child and the kind of day they have had.
If you think about the way you feel when you get home from work after a stressful day, it’s much the same for your child. Only they don’t have the language or emotional maturity to deal with the frustrations and stresses they have had to face.
How can you deal with it?
After-school restraint collapse is much more likely to occur at the beginning of the school year or when children start school for the first time.
The best way to deal with it is to let your child relax once they get home after school. It can be tempting to try and get homework out of the way but what your child really needs to do is unwind after their busy school day. Let them run around outside, ride their bike or go for a walk.
Another great way to deal with after-school meltdowns is to seek ways to connect with your child. Put down your phone and spend some one-on-one time with them, have a meal together, play a board game or complete a puzzle together. Listen to what they have to tell you about their school day and give them your full attention.
Of course, if your child seems especially anxious about school or is having tantrums on a regular basis, it’s best to investigate it a bit more. Talk to their teacher or book an appointment with your GP if you become concerned. You can read more about After-School Restraint Collapse here, here and here.