Dealing with After School Restraint Collapse, Daily


The everyday collapse

Collapse, I don’t know if it’s her or me who is collapsing most afternoons due to all the attitude she brings home daily. I had never heard of the after school restraint collapse even though my daughter had been in a school environment for 5+ years. However, it was very real in our house. Every day it was very real in our house.

But she’s so good for everyone else

I would get these great reports from her teachers and any family members she would be around. At home, I wanted to run away every night and become besties with the local liquor store. Afternoon and evenings became torture. It was like talking to a wall sometimes. At other times, it was like talking to the best backtalker on the planet. Then, there was the “tester.” I would say “please go upstairs and get your pj’s for bath now”…I had already asked about 45 million times. Then she would take about two steps every hundred years and look at me to say “I’m going!!!!” with that look on her face. You all know THAT face.

Parental confusion

So, there we were confused. Everyone is saying we have a great child but we don’t. Then one day a preschool teacher friend of mine (they and all teachers have the hardest jobs on the planet) posted a story on “after school restraint collapse” and I thought…hmmm what is that?! I read it and it hit home. I mean, it really hit home.

Getting the scoop

In researching the “collapse,” I found that there were so many articles on this topic and it was not a new thing at all. Someone coined the phrase many years back. There are multiple ways to set your home and yourself up to help calm “the storm” of the collapse. I decided to ask my daughter if it was tough to be so “good” all day and do all the things that were asked of her. She said “yes.” No surprise there. We continued to talk about how she felt and what she thought. She even said to me “the only time I get to do what I want is on my birthday.” It would be awful to feel that you could never do anything you wanted to do. My parents would say that is part of being a child. However, I do agree children need to have a voice and have free time but still respect their parent’s authority.

A quick list of ways to help calm your child

Below are a few ways that I have personally found that helped us calm the “collapse.”

  • Stop questioning my daughter on the way home from school about her day or the kid that always picks on her. I’ve actually found her to be more open without me asking her a bunch of questions. It’s on her time.
  • Eat a healthy snack as soon as she gets home. My daughter’s lunchtime is 10:50 and I pick her up after 3. I personally would be in full-blown hangry mode at this point of the day. I found she couldn’t handle anything some days until she ate. So, now we eat first and deal with everything else later.
  • Take it easy on her when she rejects my direction. Ok, I know this sounds a little wimpy but seriously is picking up all those crayons right this very moment going to end the world? No. So, I tell myself to settle and give her a minute. In the end, she ends up doing it but it was on her time. It’s called little wins and Nolan and I let her have them.
  • Get outside. We are lucky to have a public park in our backyard. We will ride the bike or just take a walk to the park.  She can play how she wants and burn off some of that built up frustration.

Doing it your way

There are many ways to handle your own child when they come home from a day of school and self-restraint. You know your child and so you will pick the best methods that fit your family. I found talking to her about these feelings and what she wanted helped us to find our best resolutions. They will change and I’m sure of that fact but for now, we have our routine. Routine is very important around our house. Good luck with finding what helps your family deal with the collapse!


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