My kids get home from school and everything seems great. At first they are happy to be home, chat very fast about their day but then it hits…the after school meltdown. It’s important to keep in mind that these meltdowns are common, normal, and actually do get better as your kids get older. A little. And having been through it myself for a couple of years, I can tell you that there are a few things you can try to stave off the explosions, or at least make them less extreme or frequent.
FEED THEM- My kids get home at different times. One at 3 and the other at 4:15. The one at 3 gets a snack. The one at 4:15 gets home and we have the earliest dinner known to this family. It took me a couple of months to learn how to get this part down. My kids have never arrived home so late until we moved here. But I make sure dinner is ready by 4:30 and wa-lah, the kids are happy!
DON’T FEED THE FIRE- One reaction when your kids come home all pissy, is to get pissy right back. DON’T DO IT! Then you are unhappy and they are even worse. Just let it pass. It does pass.
DELAY HOMEWORK AND KEEP ACTIVITIES TO A MINIMUM- I don’t listen to my own advice. I know if my 11 year old doesn’t do his homework right away, when I do ask him there is a bigger break down. But when I give my 6 year old a break, she has no problem doing her homework later. Luckily, the schools here don’t send much homework home. Levi only has homework if he didn’t finish something in class or needs to start a project at home. Delylah’s homework is so easy, she is done in 5 minutes. I also never plan a grocery trip or going anywhere else after school. The last thing they want to do is behave more because we have to go somewhere.
GIVE THEM SPACE- Just let them be for a moment. They just want to decompress from their day, whether it was good or bad. Just like a grown up when they come home from work.Levi goes for video games right away and Delylah begins to draw. Almost every single day after school, that is what my kids will be doing until I call them for something.
DON’T BE A FIRING SQUAD- Save your questions for around the dinner table. Yes, we all want to know how their day was and if “Johnny 2 Tone” picked on them again. But wait. Giving them time to enjoy being home will make them want to talk about their day later.
CONNECT WITH THEM WHEN THEY ARE READY- My kids will come home, give me big loves but then want nothing to do with me. No questions to be asked and no more hugs. That’s fine. After about 30 minutes they are in face saying “Guess what happened at school today?”
The after school struggle is real. Parents don’t always talk about it but it’s there. Once you learn that this is just the way your kids are, you figure out ways to make it easier for yourself. Moving to Texas and having such a big change in school and life, my kids after school attitudes have changed. I’ve done some tweaking and we all are adjusting with school and life after it just fine.
And for anyone who’s in the thick of it: It definitely gets better as they get older. Eventually, they aren’t quite as worn out from their days, and they can even come home and make their own snacks. (Imagine that!)
So hang in there, do what you need to do to keep everyone sane and remember that what you’re experiencing is normal and will most definitely pass.
Happy Tuesday My Friends
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