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After-school restraint collapse - your guide to handling the tantrums, hitting and biting!


Parents collecting their children from school

Ever wondered why your child's teacher tells you that they are doing really well at school, following instructions, and getting on well with their peers, but when they come home - it's absolute carnage?! Well, here is your ultimate guide to after-school restraint collapse, a long name for a really common difficulty. I'm Laura, positive parenting consultant and Mum of 3, and I've lived through many years of those afterschool (and Saturday morning) moments, so I'm here to help:



 

Understanding After-School Restraint Collapse



child having a tantrum while other child observes

Before we get into what you can do abut it, let's take a look at what it is.. The term after-school restraint collapse was first used by life coach and counsellor, Andrea Loewen Nair, and it refers to the fact that our kids arrive home from school, physically and emotionally exhausted. They've held it together all day at school, followed instructions, interacted with others, and then they get home. Often, they're hungry and tired too.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster? It certainly is! You (or their siblings) are like to be the unwilling recipients of all of those big emotions and the behaviour that comes out of it -whether that's shouting at you because they took the wrong books into school, or hitting their sibling, or throwing things. Or, perhaps, they've collapsed in a heap in the middle of the floor?


Tips for Parents


So, they're having a big meltdown - what can you as a parent do?

  1. Give some space: If everyone is safe (i.e. nobody is hurting anyone), and your child is in the middle of a big tantrum, it's not actually the best time to intervene, at least not with words. Sit near them, offer eye contact and touch, and wait. You might want to silently put a snack or a glass of water near to them, or offer them something that usually helps them feel better. Their feeling better wheel/box, for example. See point 4, here .

  2. Connect: When your child is feeling a bit better, then offer connection - ask them a question, and listen to their feelings about how their day went, or how they're feeling now. Validate their feelings "uh-uh, I hear you, that sounds tough"..

  3. Offer Choices then probably the first thing you want to do is give your child a limited choice about what they can do now - they can play in their own room but not in the shared space, they can read on the sofa or on your bed, for example.

  4. Find solutions together: the final step is when everyone is feeling better. Now you want to brainstorm for solutions so that the next time it happens (and it surely will) you are prepared. What would help your child? Do they want to take a snack so they can eat it straight afterschool? Do they need fewer activities? What ideas do they have to make the transition smoother? Agree to try one idea for a week, and then review


A Collaborative Approach


So - these are my top parenting tips. But if I want to give you a framework for handling after-school restraint collapse, it's that it's about collaboration. You don't have all the answers, and neither does your child. But if you start by building genuine connection and empathy, you won't go far wrong. Remember to parent the child in front of you - what works for one of your kids won't necessarily work for all of them, so you're going to have to get creative.


If you and your child have run out of ideas, I'd be happy to chat and help you find some other solutions that will help manage those big emotions and have a more peaceful home. You can book a coaching call with me here.

If this is the first time you've come across me, you might want to sign up for my newsletter - the sign up form is in the footer just below!

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