Who Is This Child?

Well, Week 1 is in the books at Little Flower School and for most schools in our area.  Because of our boost in enrollment, our staff anticipated there may be some adjustments and they were prepared.  As a result we had a wonderful week.  Most importantly, our students were in great spirits and seemed to make the transition from summer to “back to the grind” very smoothly.

One situation that arises for some students and parents occurs after school: post-school emotional letdown.  I saw it a lot at Sacred Heart-Griffin and it is even more common at the elementary and junior high level.  Children  expend so much emotional energy and behavioral restraint at school between 8 – 3 that they sometimes have to “let loose” when they get into the car or arrive back home.  Some researchers call this phenomenon “after school restraint collapse”.

Symptoms of after school letdown include argumentative behavior, whining, moodiness, fatigue, quietness, defiance, and sometimes crying spells and clinginess.  When parents inform teachers of what is going on after school, teachers are surprised because the student seems perfectly okay in the classroom.

Parents can do some things to help their child with this common after school adjustment problem.  Here are some tips that can lessen the length of time and the intensity of the after school restraint collapse:

  • Allow the child a little down time before asking them details about how their day went.
  • Offer the child some opportunities for physical activity such as a bike ride or playing in the backyard.
  • A healthy snack can be a great pick me up for a tired student.
  • Try not to take the negative behavior after school personally.  Some children need a place to vent and the safest place to do that is with a parent (usually the mom) at home.  Children know that, even when they are moody or throw a tantrum,  in the end their parents will still love them.

In most cases children who exhibit this behavior will become more docile after a few weeks of normal school routine.  If this condition lasts more than three or four weeks, consult with your pediatrician or a mental health professional.

So now the Week 2 adventure begins.  I can’t wait to see what unfolds at Little Flower!



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