In this case, it is all about transition and making the movement from the hustle and bustle of school back into the home environment as smooth as possible.
Firstly, if time allows and you do the pick up yourself, let the kids play a bit on the jungle gym and run around. If they had lessons for the second half of the day and haven’t had the opportunity since lunchtime, they need a physical output to release some energy into play, rather than negative physical behaviour at home. If that isn’t an option, how about a sport or physical activity? Think of your child as a daily balloon full of energy – if they don’t release the energy it will pent up and explode. Give them opportunities for release.
Secondly, just as you probably use the ride home to de-compartmentalize and adjust your behaviour and mindset, the kids can use this time for the same activity. Ask them about their day: what was the best part, what was the worst, what was something new or different that they learned or did, and what are they looking forward to tomorrow?
Furthermore, children more so than adults are what they eat, so make sure after-school snack is healthy and nutritious. Filling your child’s belly with sugar will not encourage them to readjust their mental state in a positive way and come back into the home environment seamlessly, but will actually have the opposite effect. A snack without refined sugar and high in protein, such as nuts, peanut butter on rice cakes, or hummus and veggies is a great option to keep their sugar levels even.
Lastly, consider a daily disconnect to make sure they switch off. No phones or tablets for half an hour instead encourage reading, board games, or colouring. This could be a great opportunity for bonding and checking up on their literacy progress or a way for them to learn some independence. Nevertheless, children’s brains need some time to calm and then their actions will follow suit.
As time goes on, which it will faster than any of us care to notice, there should be some evidence of restraint collapse characteristics easing up and your child being able to handle the transition from school to home or activities much smoother and with more control. The good news is that restraint collapse is definitely a condition that alleviates itself over time, and with these tips you can help everyone in the family deal with it better.