If it seems like every day your child comes home cranky and irritable after school, you’re not alone. Many parents struggle to understand why their child behaves well during school hours but doesn’t continue this behavior in the evenings. Experts say this emotional exertion is called “after-school restraint collapse.” After a long day at school or daycare, many kids can’t seem to hold it together when they get home.
What is after-school restraint collapse?
After-school restraint collapse happens in children of all ages. It can be expressed in many ways, such as meltdowns, disrespectful behavior, or even acts of solitude. Laidback children and teenagers’ behaviors may not be as drastic. Nevertheless, they can become anti-social or show signs of moodiness after school, especially when paired with a lack of sleep.
So why does it happen? Well, your child’s school day is filled with expectations, challenges, and disappointments. By the end of the day, kids are simply exhausted. Tantrums, outbursts, and hyperactivity are just some of the ways your child might be coping with these overwhelming emotions.
Many child psychologists agree that these overt acts of defiance and distress toward family members can be attributed to the fact that they are confident you will love them through it—so don’t let them down! Try to find a way to be patient and understanding through their outbursts and remind them that you’re there for them no matter what. Don’t take it personally! While it may seem like they’ve been waiting all day to unload on you, they’re actually navigating emotional maturity.
Tips to avoid emotional exertion
Aside from your enduring parental patience, psychologists recommend searching for ways to help your child decompress after the school day.
Establishing fun routines for when they get home can often give physical and emotional outlets. Try tickle fights, taking a walk, or having a dance party; leave screen time as a last resort. Baltimore and its surrounding areas have so much to do!
Another tip to avoid after-school restraint collapse? Keep the questions to a minimum. When our children get home from school, we often want to bombard them with questions about their day and the evening’s homework. Instead, greet them with a smile and a hug, give them a snack, and allow them to have a mental break. Let your kids know that home is their safe zone and help them learn how to communicate their frustrations.
Does your child need extra help? Contact us today to learn more.
Natalie Mangrum is the founder and CEO of Maryland Teacher Tutors. She is a reading specialist with a bachelors in elementary education and masters in education. As a parent to two young adults, and prior teacher, Natalie knows all too well the benefits of one-on-one tutoring and coaching for students. Her mission is to ensure that every aspect of MTT is done in a spirit of excellence! She enjoys alleviating the concerns of parents so they can breathe easy knowing their children are in good hands!