Preventing After School Meltdowns


    Preventing After School Meltdowns

    Jenna is a kindergartener who loves .  She enthusiastically goes each day and is one of the more engaged students in the class.  By all accounts, her first month of kindergarten has been a huge success and her are relieved and happy that all is well at .

    But once Jenna gets home, things get a bit out of hand.

    Jenna’s mom reports that afternoons have become very tough at their house.  Jenna happily comes home from and then spends the next three hours losing it.  Anger, frustration, and tantrums are a daily after- occurrence, leaving Jenna’s to wonder what is going on.

    After meltdowns, especially in the early years of , are really common.  Why?  Because being at takes lots of energy.  Listening, following the rules, navigating social situations, and learning new things is hard work.  Think of how you feel after a full day of meetings.  You’re ready for a glass of wine, right?   Well, your doesn’t have that option.

    So what options DOES your have?  For starters, establish an after- routine.  Perhaps your gets home, has a snack (very important as being “hangry” doesn’t things), and then watches a show for 30 minutes.  This consistent routine will give the afternoon some structure and that will be calming for your tired and overstimulated . Make sure to give lots of snuggles to reestablish a connection with your during this time.

    Next, you might consider making a menu of calming activities that your can choose from while you tend to other things (siblings, dinner, etc).  This menu could include quiet time in a room of your ’s choosing (maybe looking at or ing with toys).  Your could also with a sibling, do crafts at the table, or .  Regardless, make a list of all possible activities and your make a plan.

    Even with all of these supports in place, your may still act out.  Establish some rules and try to be patient.  Let your know that, even though you know she is tired, she cannot treat others ( including you) unkindly.  Refer back to the plan you made and try to redirect her to the list of calming activities.

    Lastly, as the day winds down, make sure you have a solid and consistent routine.  Early s are not a bad thing, so start the routine right after dinner.  Maybe its dinner, bath, , and then bed.  No matter what you’ve established, keep it consistent, calm and positive.

    Going to isn’t the carefree experience it once was.  Even if your loves it, is  exhausting.  Still, after- meltdowns can be drastically reduced with a few consistent routines.  Try it for a few weeks and you should see a big difference.  Think of it as teaching your ways to relax and de-stress, much like your glass of wine or gym time.

    Let Them Fly!


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