How To Handle After-School Meltdowns

girl crying

Oh, boy. Going back to school can be a really difficult transition for so many kids. Gone are the carefree days of summer when bedtimes and wake-up times were flexible, schedules were fluid, and the most we asked of them was that they cleaned up their toys and spaced out their snack demands. Once school starts, it's all about early night, earlier mornings, hectic schedules, and lots of demands!

The first month or so can be brutal, which can lead to a lot of meltdowns after the school day is over. Part of us is glad they at least wait until they're home to lose it, but it can be so hard to deal with as a parent! Kids usually meltdown when they're exhausted, overwhelmed, and hungry. So here's how to deal with those after-school meltdowns and keep them from happening.

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Don't pepper your child with questions as soon as they're buckled in for the ride home.

Kids need to decompress, too! A quick inquiry about how their day went is more than OK right after school. But give them some time to relax after their day before you start asking them for details about what they did, who they played with, what they ate, and what they have for homework.

Piggybacking on that: carve out some downtime right when they get home from school.

Just give your kids a chance to relax and unwind after their day. They're very likely exhausted, overwhelmed, and on edge. Make the hour after school relaxation time, where they can just sit and enjoy a quiet snack, or rest after their long day.

grumpy after school
Credit: iStock / miszaqq

Keep that blood sugar up!

The hunger crash is brutal, and the meal schedules at school can mean your kid is coming home starving everyday. Be prepared with a few healthy snacks they can hit right when they walk in the door. Don't worry about making it anything fancy - put out their favorite snacks and some water or milk, and let them refuel.

Set a homework schedule and stick to it.

Before the school year even starts, dictate a homework time. That way, your kids know that at a certain time, they'll be expected to sit down and complete their homework assignments. Again, don't schedule this right after school, as they definitely need some time to decompress. But having a homework schedule can take some of the pressure off of them. They have a start time and an end time, and whatever doesn't get done, don't stress over it. Pushing them beyond their limits will only add to the pressure they're already under.

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