End After School Meltdowns
It's that time of year again! The complaining, the crying, and the after-school temper tantrums have begun. Try to place yourself in your children’s shoes, literally. Picture this, you are a toddler, or maybe even a pre-teen and you are in a school setting with a lot of rules. Children already have a difficult time following rules. You are being told to behave, but you don't necessarily know the proper way to behave. All your emotions and thoughts are driving your little head crazy and you want to cry. The worst part about it all is that you have to sit still for a good amount of time.
Does your child ever sit still? While in school, children have to sit still for a long period of time, and they are built to move. School is hard work whether your children enjoys it or not. They are learning academics, patience, and other brain stimulating recourses. While they are being told to behave all day, they are also far away from their siblings and parents, and not eating all of their lunch doesn’t make those roller coaster emotions any better. Along with the personal emotions, carries out the classroom emotions when they weren’t picked to be a student helper of the week or Kylie wasn't being top nice. Take into consideration that your child is learning how to manage disappointments and setbacks.
All of your child’s energy and patience has been used up at school. Your child has been sitting down patiently, learning something they have never heard of before, they are hungry, missing you, and now they have nothing left in them. Then you- the loving parent who wants nothing but the best for your child is on the way to pick them up from school, or perhaps the bus stop to pick up your child from school. You’re happy because you got to complete your errands before 3:15pm and you’re expecting your child to tell you how their day was and that they missed you… But instead of running into your arms, they complain that they hate a certain subject, they hated the shoes they were wearing, they angrily tell you that you packed the worst lunch in the universe of worst lunches, and last, but not least you never listen and you’re the worst mommy or daddy ever.
Throughout the ride home you ponder on the last comment they made. Am I a bad parent? Am I not doing enough? Do I need to call the school? Is something wrong with my child? What happened? Stop pondering and driving yourself insane. Strong emotion and attachment happened. That’s what. Their strong emotions and attachment kicked in when it was at it’s all time high. The end result is an after-school melt-down. Why? Why does my child have to have the after-school melt-down? Let me just tell you that YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE!
Now picture this; your child had a rough 6-7-hour day at school and their emotions were running wild. They were in need of comfort and love, but you weren’t there. (not your fault, children need to go through this in order to become independent.) That’s just the way life is. Their first thought in their brain is to search for you in their time of need. After those long hours of searching and not finding you, rather than running into your comforting arms they scream and have a temper tantrum. They are kicking and screaming at you because they felt detached from your love. Children will act like this when they try to protect themselves from more hurt. In order for them to feel loved again they need to understand that you will always be there for them when they get out of school, and if they need to talk to anyone the teacher is always there for them.
Ways to better help or avoid the after-school melt-down:
Feed The Hungry
Make sure your children eat breakfast. Put your children to sleep early in order for them to wake up and eat a healthy meal. Pack a lunch that you know they will eat. If your child doesn’t like turkey, please stop packing them a turkey sandwich. Children don’t have much time to eat at lunch and we all know how long it takes for them to finish a bite of food. Pack easy finger foods that they can quickly eat with a lot of protein.
2. Go to School with Them
Don’t physically go to school with them, but take part of their emotions while they are there. Place cute notes in their folders or lunch box. Remind them that you are always with them and there for them. Try to place a photo of you and your child in their backpack so whenever they are feeling low they can look at the photo.
3. Positive Reinforcement
Instead of sending your child off to school and saying “Goodbye, Momma loves you!” Redirect their thoughts and emotions and say “Have a great day my love, good luck on your book report. I can't wait to hear all about it!” Don’t allow them to over think the word “Goodbye.” Remember, your child is a child. The thought of “Goodbye” seems like you’re going to be gone forever and ever. You can even mention an after school activity that you and your child can do together. Using positive reinforcement can be very beneficial to the outburst emotions that take place during after-school pick-up. The emotions and attachment of the brain will be thinking positive rather than the long day without you.
4. Hear them Out
Everyone wants to feel loved, including yourself. Hear your child’s problems out even if they consist of being mad about the goldfish you packed them for the lunch rather than the cheez-its they wanted. Let them know that you apologize and you understand why they are upset and it was a simple mistake. Kid’s don’t remember what you taught them, they remember how you made them feel. Give them a warm feeling with your comfort and they will always go back to how they felt when you were there for them.
If your child has a meltdown after school, try to validate their emotions and feelings, and listen with empathy. As stated, children learn all brain stimulating recourses in school. What they don’t teach your children in school is how to love, controlling your own emotions, or real-life situations. You have to partake in subliminal teaching as well. Teach your child real-life solutions to their problems without them knowing they are being taught. They are children, not adults. So please do not get angry at them. They are only children whose brains aren’t fully developed. 75% of the time they don’t realize or know why they are even having a temper tantrum.
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