After-school meltdowns are real! KidStrong Coach and Director of Programming, Patrick Ford, DPT, discusses how to best support your child when he or she has a meltdown. Per the research, children in school can experience what is called “after-school restraint collapse.”
School is a highly-structured, performance-based environment that can cause a lot of stress for our kids. Our kids are seated for extended periods of time, often in a confined space like a desk. They are also constantly graded on both their academic performance and their behavior. They do their best to hold it together throughout the school day and can often leave school with their glass extremely full. When they get home, they are in a safe, comfortable environment where they can let everything go. Cue the after-school meltdown.
Be understanding and help them manage that stress in one of three simple ways:
Freedom to move. Our kids have been in the classroom all day. Give them the opportunity to get up and move. Go for a walk. Ride your bike. Shoot hoops. Give them the opportunity for the unstructured activity they naturally crave.
Eat a light snack. It may have been a few hours since they last ate. Give them a snack to help stabilize blood sugar. Great options include a piece of fruit, some cheese, or a handful of nuts.
Time to check out. As adults, we value the opportunity to check out and take a mental break after a long day. Give your kids the same opportunity to mentally rest and recover before tackling homework or sitting down for dinner.