HAVE you ever wondered why your child decides to throw a tantrum as soon as you pick them up from school or daycare?
Well, there’s a plausible explanation, according to Parent Educator, and social worker Geneveieve Muir who says it’s actually pretty common.
The mum-of-four, who founded Connected Parenting, calls it the after-school restraint collapse.
“Essentially it’s a result of our child working so hard to keep it together away from their parents all day long,” she tells Fabulous.
“At day-care or school, they need to share, take turns, listen and follow directions.
“For young children, this can be absolutely exhausting and it is when they see their parents or primary caregivers that they can no longer hold it together and we often see kids ‘fall apart’ in a way that can seem out of character.”
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This can look like whinging, fighting with a sibling or a full-blown meltdown.
“It makes sense when we think about it. Our kids have had to be their ‘best selves’ all day long, trying so hard to share, do the right thing, navigating friendships and rules. Then they see us, their safe base and they just collapse,” she explains.
So how do you know if your child is experiencing an after-school restraint collapse?
Gen says: “Parents will know because it seems to happen right after school and seems like a very sudden change in mood and character without a visible cause.”
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In a video on her TikTok page, Gen explains that it’s actually “a massive compliment.”
“Even though it doesn’t feel like it,” she adds.
This is because they consider you to be their safe space which allows them to be their true selves.
What should parents do?
Centre yourself: “When you’re going to pick up your child, just take a deep breath before you go in the gate. Put your phone down and be ready to meet them where they’re at,” says Gen.
“Even though you’re excited, they may not be. They may have had a tough day. “
Create a ritual: “Sometimes restraint collapse can be about our kids missing us all day so think about creating a connection ritual so your child can keep a piece of you with them through the day,” Gen suggests.
“This can be drawing a heart on your wrist and theirs and telling them you can both press the heart to stay ‘connected’ through the day.”
Food is essential: “Have it ready in the car, pram or in your bag,” Gen says.
“Kids get ‘hangry’ and food can prevent many of the after-school moments of collapse.”
Be ok with their feelings: “Often they have held this in all day long and it took loads of effort when they see us, their safe base it all just falls apart,” Gen explains.
“Stay out of fixing or solving if you can and just listen. Sometimes they just need to download and feel like we get it.”
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Finally, if your child is struggling a lot with this Gen says to wind back the after-school schedule so things are less rushed.
“They may need some downtime with you more often while they adjust and settle,” she says.
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