How to Cure the After School Blues

Okay, so in our case, the “after school blues” is the nice way to put it.  Anyone else??  Our oldest, Jack, has been in Kindergarten for a month now and I think I’m FINALLY getting the hang of how to best support him when he gets home from school.  His first few days he was extremely emotional (he’s a high-highs and low-lows kind of kid) and even after a month, he still struggles after school.  Whining, crying, arguing, lashing out, complaining….we see it all.  By trial and error, I have found what works best for us to help him overcome these emotional struggles.  I’ve listed my top 3 tips below, in hopes that it could help out any of you who are dealing with something similar.

  • Have a big, healthy snack prepared.  I can’t believe how much my son eats when he gets home from school.  Providing him with a healthy snack helps his attitude almost immediately.  I fill up a whole plate with foods like apple slices, cheese, a granola bar, etc. and it is gone before I know it.  I make sure not to give him anything with sugar or food dyes, as these seem to only worsen the situation.
  • Provide a quiet activity for them to do- something you can do together if possible.  A few ideas would be: legos, puzzle, reading, etc.  This is what has worked best for us, however if you child is expected to sit still for much of the day, then doing something active like playing outdoors would likely be more beneficial.
  • Patience, patience, patience.  I know….so difficult….right??  When they make bad choices in expressing their feelings, use the opportunity to teach them the correct way to handle their emotions, rather than immediately disciplining or sending them to timeout.  The first week of school, my son came home and told me that he called a girl a “butt” that day.  I knew that if I lectured him and sent him to his room that he would never tell me anything like that again.  So, instead we talked about how that might have made her feel, what better choice he could have made, and what makes a good friend.  In no way do I get it right every time, but keeping this quote in mind has helped me tremendously:

“When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it is our job to share our calm, not join their chaos.”  -L.R. Knost

I know many of you are farther along in your parenting journey than I am, so please leave your thoughts, tips, and tricks in the comments below!  I would love to learn from your experience as well!

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