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Preventing after school 'meltdowns'

Having a 'bad attitude' or throwing tantrums straight after school can be common during the first few weeks of a new term.

Described as an “after-school restraint collapse” by psychotherapist Andrea Nair, this can occur when children get back to their safe space and are able to express they may have been holding-in all day. 

Below are some coping techniques that you might find useful.

Connection - Give your child the time and space to talk about their day when they come home. Leave technology aside, and concentrate on spending time together.

Open questions Asking open questions like “who, what, when, where” when your child gets home can be helpful prompts when trying to get them to talk about their day. 

Bridge items - Writing notes to put in lunch boxes or school bags can help. The idea that you are “there” with your child at school can prevent feelings of anxiety or vulnerability and can help with any feelings of anger or upset when they get home.

Daily decompressing activities - Finding a way for your child to decompress at the end of the day, whether that be drawing, riding a bike, playing games, or just doing nothing, can also help. Doing an activity together that they enjoy every day can help children get into a routine and can help both you and your child through intense emotions. 

Bedtime - Lack of sleep can affect mood, so making sure that bedtime routines are in place can be really important. Taking the time to unwind from the day, brushing teeth, putting pyjamas on and talking can help everyone's day end on a positive note.