Rice: Taming the Tantrums After School | lifestyle


Now that school is back to school, one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind was how to tame those tantrums after school. Okay, technically it’s meltdowns, and I’ll go into why there is a difference in a moment, but that sounds a lot easier, doesn’t it?

Anyway, if you are a seasoned parent you will know all about breakdown after school. It is terrible! Whether you’re a newbie to school parenting or not, you want to keep reading, paying attention, and taking notes.

I will never forget the first time I experienced the breakdown after school. My grandchildren were of preschool age (they are twins) and the first day I picked them up I expected big smiles and happy boys. It was far from that.

They screamed, cried, stepped into seats, threw things and refused to buckle up while they were still in the pickup line. I was embarrassed, scared, and angry. This situation happened before I became an educational advisor and knew anything about conscious, networked parenting.

I had to struggle to have them buckled up, throw away everything they could toss (including their shoes), and cried with them all the way home. The meltdowns happened the next day and the next until I did what we all do.

I googled how to deal with children’s breakdowns after school. Guess what I discovered They did not act like this on purpose to make me angry or defiant. They were tired, overwrought, in a new environment with new routines and hangry. In other words, the perfect recipe for a meltdown.

Remember earlier I promised to describe the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown? A tantrum is when a child is aware of the whining and crying and is doing it on purpose to get what they want. The crying and whining stops instantly when they get the attention, item, or whatever they wanted.

A meltdown is a different story. The child’s brain is no longer in the logical frontal lobe area of ​​the brain, which rules logic and reasoning. Instead, that part has shut down and they are now operating emotionally from their amygdala, or what we also call the “fight / flight / freeze” part of the brain.

Your behavior at this point is out of your control and all you can do is help them safely process their big emotions. You can learn more about it, strategies for dealing with tantrums and breakdowns and more in one of my favorite parenting books, “The Whole-Brain Child,” by Drs. Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson.

But there is no reason to wait for the meltdown. There are quite a few things you can do to prevent it, or at least minimize the meltdown. Have snacks, toys, stuffed animals, and activities ready for distraction.

Prepare to stop and calm a child if necessary. Empathize and Remember: How do you feel when you are overly stimulated or exhausted after a long day at work, especially in the first few days or weeks? (Or hello? Stay home-COVID-mom-life.)

Most of all, remember that chaos adds to chaos, so stay calm. Stop, take a breath, and then react when you can do it calmly. Please do not ask any questions or have any discussions. You want to give them time to relax from their day, and endless questions and conversation will make their already overstimulated brain worse.

You can also seek help from the school, especially if you have a child on an IEP or 504 plan. One of my grandchildren is autistic and fixates on what he can’t do after school (like last year, he kept asking to go to Chick-Fil-A after school, but it was closed due to COVID). He was also fixated on going to the park after school, even though he knew the answer was no.

Not because I don’t want to take it with me, but between my foot disability and twins running away in different directions and refusing to walk, it’s not a good combination for a park visit. It’s a big trigger for our family. Suddenly he refused to get into the car for several days in a row and was overwhelmed by the noise after school. We spoke to the school, who put together a plan for a smooth transition from school to car. It worked like a charm.

And that’s exactly the answer, in a nutshell. We saw his need for a quieter environment and help with transitions. We fulfilled his need and the undesirable behavior stopped. When you meet their needs, your children will be better able to regulate their emotions and you will create a more peaceful, happier home.

(Dawn-Renée Rice is a Conscious Connection Parenting Guide, author, and columnist based in the East Texas area. She and her husband have been married for 23 years, have three children, six grandchildren, and a furbaby. To follow Dawn-Renée, sign For email updates or to connect on social media, visit them online at linktr.ee/dawnreneerice.)

– Dawn-Renée Rice is a Conscious Connection Parenting Guide, Writer, and Columnist based in the East Texas area. She and her husband have been married for 23 years and share three children, six grandchildren and a furbaby. To follow Dawn-Renée, sign up to receive email updates, or connect on social media, visit her online at linktr.ee/dawnreneerice.