Do you ever get home after picking up a perfectly happy child and she loses it as soon as the door opens? Do the educators report to you your child was a little angel today at childcare but as soon as you get to the car, he throws a tantrum?
Let me tell you: It’s not YOU!
After school meltdowns are common and normal. Children who have attended a long day at school or childcare may let loose of their emotions when at home or together with family. The activities and rules of the day have taken the energy out of them and they may simply not be able to hold it together anymore. In a familiar setting like home or with a familiar adult like mum or dad they may suddenly let it all go. Something small or unrelated might trigger them and angry outbursts or tears may follow… They have been so busy being “good” at childcare or school that they have nothing left!
Here some proven strategies to get you ahead of the meltdowns and to help you through them:
1. Start the day well. Plan ahead so there won’t be the usual morning rush. Make time for breakfast together and discuss what the day should look like. That way there will be less surprises for your child after school or childcare.
2. Be prepared and have understanding for their feelings after a long day. How do you feel after a stressful day at work? Feel like doing chores, doing the shopping or visiting someone where our good behaviour is of importance? No? Neither do children and they do not have the capabilities grown-ups have.
3. Have a simple routine in place for after school or childcare. Children love the predictability of a routine. Don’t overwhelm them with extra activities. If your child prefers visuals create some pictures they can see on the wall or the fridge of what will happen after pick-up: Snack time, chores, dinner, story time, bath, bedtime…
4. If the meltdown is already happening stop what you are doing and think about what your child may be lacking right now: Do they need special cuddles and reconnect with you? Did they have to sit still all day and need to run off some steam in the park? Do they need some quiet time without any noise pollution or distractions?
5. Are their basic needs met? Are they hungry or thirsty? That could be an easy fix!
6. Offer your child some time to decompress. Time without demands, chores or homework where they can just do what they want.
7. Have some fun! After a stressful day try to create an atmosphere where both of you can let loose a bit in a positive way? How about a pillow fight or invite the tickle monster in. 😉
At Parkside we offer children a balance of active and quiet times. Children have the right to rest at any time of the day. In the same way, our educators watch the children’s behaviour and respond with extra active or physical play time if they feel the children need that.