AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — It can be common for kids to be happy and content in the morning when they go to school but come home in the opposite mood. The harder you try to engage in conversation about their day the more frustrated and grouchy they can become. These reactions are common for kids and 99% of the time has nothing to do with you.
There are many reasons why kids can fall apart once home:
- Going to school can be tiring and for some kids it is exhausting
- They can be mentally drained as well
- Kids are under a considerable amount of stress: performance/grades, relationships, being included, etc.
- Kids do not have sophisticated self-regulation skills which can help manage and cope with various feelings throughout the day. Kids have to be taught to self-regulate
- Some kids are more sensitive to the demands of school and by the end of the day, they feel overwhelmed. They may not even know why they feel this way and do not have the words to explain it.
The good news is, if your child is waiting until they get home to fall apart then it means the home is where they feel safe and can freely express themselves.
The following is how to manage those afterschool outbursts:
- Double-check with their teacher that outburst are not happening in the classroom. Find out if they are struggling in any areas (academics, peer relationships, bullying/teasing).
- Offer an afterschool snack. Kids can be hungry once they get home and with being hungry can come irritability. Offering something before dinner is usually needed for growing kids.
- Sit with the silence. If your child does not want to talk about it, don’t. Give them time to decompress and remember how you feel when being peppered with questions at the end of a tough day.
- Provide a friendly opening for a conversation.
- Have homework a bit later in the afternoon rather than jumping right in when they get home. Remember, kids have been sitting, focusing and doing most of the day and they need a break.
- Find ways to help your child self-regulate. Be aware of the difference between a tantrum and a full-blown meltdown.
Parenting Challenge: If this type of behavior becomes a pattern begin to log/keep track of when and how your child gets upset. With this information, you can begin to understand triggers for the outburst thus helping to create the appropriate plan to address.