If you’ve noticed a sharp emotional mood swing in your children when they come home from school, you’re not alone. Known as after-school restraint collapse, the phenomenon occurs in many school-age kids, especially those who are 12 and younger.
What Is After-School Restraint Collapse?
If you think about it, schools require a lot of students: following directions, navigating social dynamics, learning new academic concepts, and exercising restraint. For many children, the unique pressures of school can build up and create high levels of tension in the mind and body. So, when you welcome your children back into a safe place where they can be themselves, they may be extremely emotional, energetic or sensitive without knowing why.
What You Can Do
Once you realize an emotional release is common for younger elementary kids, you can take steps to prepare for it. Here are a few ways, for example, you can manage your children’s transition from the ordinary school day to life back at home:
- Wait on the questions. If you give your child a little space, it can help him or her decompress and calm down.
- Have a snack ready. After the long day at school, kids benefit from hydration and nourishment. Plus, being given food helps a child feel cared for and safe, which can nurture a smoother transition.
- Provide a place to release those emotions. Emotions don’t have to explode if they’re released in a healthy way. Send the kids into the backyard to play or find a way to keep them active. Movement and exercise can diffuse tensions and help kids unwind.
Interested in learning more about quelling the collapse that is so common after school? Take a look at the accompanying resource. It breaks down what after-school restraint collapse is, why it occurs and a list of specific actions you can take to deal with it.
Infographic created by Pathway Christian Prep Academy