"Back To School Restraint": What Is It and What To Do?
As September begins, school is underway for many. Often the beginning of school provides parents a chance to lean into their “regular” routines. We can breathe a sigh of relief with a consistent schedule!
What we are not always prepared for, however, is our children returning home worn out, with little or no reserve, in full meltdown mode. “After School Restraint Collapse” is a new term that has been recently coined to define the common phenomenon children can experience after a day at school.
If, at the end of the school day, your children have temper tantrums, withdraw, or refuse to follow directions, they are probably experiencing “after school restraint collapse”. Because children use self-control throughout their school day to follow the school rules and try to meet the teacher’s expectations, they frequently release their physical, mental and emotional energy when they return to the comfort of their home. This release is especially experienced at the beginning of the school year, when they are still adjusting to the demands of their school day.
To help your children manage the transition from school to home, you can provide them some time and space to decompress from their school day. If you offer your child a healthy snack and some unstructured physical activity, such as playing at the neighborhood park or a walking around the block, then your children can release the stress of the day. Depending on your child’s personality, they also may desire an emotional connection with you, such as snuggle time on the couch or a conversation about a topic of their choice. Save homework and school discussion for later in the day.
When my children display this type of behavior after their school day, I remind myself that it is a compliment -- it means they feel safe and loved in our home. They know they can be their “worst” selves at home and still always be accepted and loved.