Sometimes, the smartest, most well-behaved and calmest students in school can have the worst emotional outbursts when they reach home. As parents, you might have seen it first-hand happening with your own children. Your child goes to school, perfectly happy, seems fine all day, and then comes home and falls apart. Yelling, throwing things, crying – it’s like a totally different child.
Although it can be quite frustrating to see your children like this, just know that it is quite common for kids to ‘lose it’ when they come home from school and that’s mainly because home is the safest place for them to show all their feelings. Their minds and bodies are tired of behaving all day long and they can’t keep it up for a second longer. However, to avoid having outbursts after school, children need to learn coping strategies and better ways to manage their emotions. Here are some ways you can help your child:
Give them time to relax
After answering questions all day, focusing and following rules at school, children need some time to unwind. Leave the discussions about school for later and give them time to relax by taking a short nap, playing with a toy or go for a short walk in the garden.
Let them have a snack
Many times, the reason that a child experiences mood swings or irritation is because they are simply hungry. Remember, a hungry kid is most likely a cranky kid. Give them a nutritious snack and drink when they get home to help them stay regulated. Try to avoid any sugars or stimulants as this can only polarize the behaviour.
One on one quality time
Children normally have a tougher time managing their feelings when their emotional cups are running low. The best way you can fill their emotional cups is by spending quality one on one time with your child, doing an activity of their choice for 15-20 minutes a day. It could be going on a walk, reading a book together or playing a game –anything that helps them destress after a hard day of school. This one seems simple but it works like a charm.
Create a ‘calm corner’ for them
It’s important to teach children how to decompress and relax after a hard day. You can try adding a ‘calm corner’ in an area of your house which is a dedicated space your child can go to just to relax and unwind. The space can be soft and comfortable filled with calming activities such as their crayons, coloring books and stuffed animals.
Let them play outside
A great way for your children to release energy after a structured school day is to play outside. It gives them a chance to blow off physical and emotional steam and being outside in nature is an instant mood booster for them.
Be an active listener
Your child may not want to open up to you as soon as he or she comes home but maybe, later on in the evening, they would like for you just to hear them out. Sometimes, it’s nice not to offer any suggestions or advice but, rather just listen to them empathetically. Lending them an ear is a wonderful way to form a better bond with your child and will help them learn to share their feelings as a way to cope with stress.