Working through after-school meltdowns

How many of you have trouble with your children’s behaviors after school? The after school hours can be challenging for a lot of kids. They want to come home and relax, but have what seems like an endless amount of homework to do. This could cause some behavior problems and possibly meltdown. There are a lot of factors to look at when determining how to work through these after-school meltdowns. Once again, STEPS is here to help! Today, we are going to walk through some strategies for helping your child work through after-school problems.

You should start by trying to determine the function of your child’s behavior. Is he/she hungry? Does he/she need downtime before starting homework? Does a lack of routine after school cause him/her stress? If you want tips on building a routine for your child, visit our post about routines here. Once you figure out why your child is acting out, you can build a routine that helps him/her thrive after school. Some children would benefit more from having a structured, sit-down time to do homework. Setting a time and place for homework can help establish the structure that they in school.

You also have to take your own behavior into consideration. Kids are very perceptive and can read your moods. If you start to lose your cool, it will make the situation worse. They may match or exceed your level of irritation. Sensing your irritation can also make them more upset because they don’t want to upset you. Oftentimes, children’s tantrums and meltdowns are their ways of communicating their stress. Adding your own stress into the mix will serve to make the situation worse.

There are preventative measures you can take that can prevent a meltdown from happening in the first place. For example, for getting ready for school, have children pick out their clothes the night before, or pick the outfits out for them. This will help relieve some morning stress of picking out an outfit. It will ultimately save time. Additionally, meal preparation can help alleviate stress. Having a definitive plan for dinners can help children with having some structure. It will also give them security of knowing that there is a plan and motivation for doing homework before dinner.

We hope that this post has been helpful for any parent struggling with after-school meltdowns! Stay tuned for more posts about ABA and helpful tips. Until next time!