Ever heard of it? It’s that thing that happens when your kid has held it all together all day until they walk in your front door and then it’s full on meltdown mode. Within minutes your loving child is near tantrum level with you, their siblings, and everything surrounding them.
Towards the end of the last year my oldest was wrapping up his first year of Kindergarten and I realized that this was so much more than just a behavioral struggle or a lack of sleep. I did some searching and quickly discovered that a little attention to detail in this area goes a LONG way for my kids. I researched my brains out on this psychological defense (thank you, psych major in college!)
What I learned? Honestly, this is a situation that plays out for more than just school-aged kids. It can happen after daycare, social events, family gatherings, and many more for human beings of ALL ages! As an adult, I even experience this at different times after being “on” for several hours. After multiple social functions and commitments during the week there’s a huge emotional letdown when it comes time to go home.
As a parent, co-regulating our kids is a huge part of our job description. I’m not the best at it – but this is one way I have started to be more intentional and teach them ways to care for themselves and their bodies as they grow more independent. Here are some of the ways I try to teach them to cope and avoid the after school meltdown…
- Meet their emotional needs….
💜 Get on their level and affirm them, example: “I missed you so much today!”
💙 This one I often forget in the welcome home rush – but it’s SO important! If you forget this one – go back and re-do by getting their attention and making sure they hear the affirmation.
- Meet their physical needs…
💚 Give them water and a healthy snack.
💛 We keep a snack basket on the counter that I can easily grab and put out for them to choose their snack for the afternoon. Nothing too big so they’re still hungry for dinner, but a little something to give them some energy back.
- Meet their mental/spiritual needs…
🧡 Send them to a quiet space with calming worship music to decompress and ground themselves for 15-20mins.
❤️ Some of my kids ask to stay longer! Some can barely stay put that long 😅 but in general we make 15mins the minimum amount of time they need to stay in their quiet space for their sake and others 🤪
✨ Things we keep in each kid’s quiet space ✨
- Legos, Blocks, or Magnatiles
- Sensory books (to ground them)
- A diffuser or roll-on oil blend
- A small speaker to listen to worship music or the Bible on the dwell app (which I HIGHLY recommend)
🌿 Our favorite oils to diffuse and keep on hand for quiet time 🌿
- Stress Away
- Peace & Calming II
- Kid Power
- Lemon & Lavender
**If you’re looking to add any of these to your toolbox for dealing with after school collapse – find them HERE.