Two Simple Ways I Stop the After School Tantrums.
Do your kids come home from a long day at school and immediately start whining, fighting, throwing a tantrum, or crying. Are your kids exhausted at the end of the school day? Do they barely make it through dinner?
I know my children are prone to after school tantrums especially mid-week. And, when I have been working all day yet still need to cook dinner I just can’t take it. I needed a new strategy.
So, with the help of some friends, I instituted 2 practices that have nearly eliminated after school tantrums in my house.
PHASE 1: SNACKS
No brainer right? After school snacks! But, I upped the ante! Instead of coming home, preparing a snack, and then eating it, I bring it to pick up. That’s right, as soon as my child walks in the door or gets in my car, I hand him/her food.
Even if my child is riding with someone else, walking, or at pickup, I have a snack ready for them as soon as I see them!
Sometimes it’s a freshly baked cookie or homemade fruit puree if I have been especially productive. But, most of the time it is as simple as a hard-boiled egg, a cheesestick, or a bag of fruit snacks. We might even have a second snack at home!
After a few months of this, my kids now ask me whether I have snack for them before they even get in their seats! By handing my child a little bit of food immediately, I beat the after school hangry attitude and give them a moment to recharge and relax.
Whatever magic this is, usually lasts a few minutes or just enough time to get the backpacks put away and move on to phase 2.
PHASE 2: Quiet-Time
2. After school quiet time.
Kids are exhausted after a long day at school and likely ready for a nap. But, I don’t want them to fall asleep and ruin the rest of their night. So, we instituted after school quiet time. It took a little bit of training, but after practicing it for a couple of weeks, it worked wonders.
My kids know that playing outside, events, screen time, or even talking about our day come after quiet time. No one is required to answer any complex questions or complete any tasks until they have just a few minutes of quiet time.
They each eat their snacks/put away their backpacks then traipse up the stairs. They go to their own rooms to read, play independently, or just sit in their beds for a few minutes.
Some days we only do 10 minutes, other, extra cranky days, we do 30 minutes. Regardless of the amount of time, it seems to be just enough to set them back on track for the rest of the night.
Think about it like a kid-commute. If you commute to and from work everyday, you have some time to readjust, to think about your day, and to prepare your mind for the evening ahead. This little bit of recharge time has the same effect on my children.
HOW IT HELPED IN OUR HOME
By distracting my kids from their inclination to meltdown after school, we have created much more peaceful evenings in our home just by implementing these 2 steps.
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