Back to school season is here and the struggle is real. Going from months of endless free time and late night bon fires to full school day routines. This can be a tough transition for parents as well as kids. Your fun loving child who was full of endless energy and smiles is now having meltdowns after the school day is done. Where did my Happy kiddo go ?
The after school burnout is the real deal. And it manifests in children differently. Some kids have temper tantrums,refuse to listen to directions or cry endlessly. Others withdraw, isolate and don’t respond to anything being asked of them. Leaves parents wondering what the hell happened at school today ?
The good thing to know is this is completely normal. It’s important to remember that a lot has been asked of our little ones all day. They have had to abide by a lot of rules, learn, interact with many personalities and use A LOT of self- control. That is just down right exhausting.
For example think of your day. Many of us had to go to work, attend a training, complete something by a due date,answer to your boss, deal with that one coworker that drives you insane, talk to a lot of people and perhaps bite our tongue keeping ourselves from what we really wanted to say. We had to use A LOT of self-control. Which is why happy hour exists and you are mentally exhausted when you get home. It’s no different for kids.
So how can we help our kids cope ?
- Not having seen our kids all day we may be full of questions and eager to talk with them. totally normal. But probably the last thing they want to do is converse. I know for my son, he likes a quiet car ride home. Sometimes he doesn’t even want the music on. I give him that time to decompress and just breathe.
- When we get home I have him change into comfy clothes and prepare him a snack. Something simple that he can chomp on that will help refuel.
- I will ask him if he wants to go outside to ride his bike or kick the soccer ball around. Or put on music, do a puzzle so he can get that physical release to reset his mind. I usually try to hold off homework for a bit to give him that much needed break.
- Being aware of your mood and behavior is also key in helping set the environment for them to destress. If you are tense, irritable and running around like a hot mess,more than likely your kids will follow suit. I use my drive home from work to after school pickup to breathe and decompress. I either drive in complete silence or listen to my favorite jams and just belt out those lyrics. Either way its a great release.
So whether you have a kiddo in Pre-K or a tween entering middle school, it’s important to give them the space and support they need.
Have a child who struggles with anxiety, stress or anger ? Check out this quick read on children’s books that can help kids cope in healthy ways!