How to deal with After School Restraint Collapse

October 16, 2022

Even if you’ve never heard of the After-School Restraint Collapse (ASRC), if you’re a parent you will have seen it in action. Your child is an angel at school but becomes a nightmare at home. Perhaps they scream, weep, throw things or are generally unpleasant. Why is this happening, and what can you do about it? 

ASRC happens because children keep it together all day at school, doing what they need to do to be “good”, and once they get home they have run out of energy and their restraints collapse, hence the name. It’s like a bubble that grows and grows. It will eventually pop. ASCR may be also linked more to fatigue than an emotional breakdown. If your child has just started full school days, they are likely to be tired. With exhaustion comes meltdowns. 

So, what can be done? Here are some top tips to help you navigate the topsy-turvy world of ASCR.  

  1. Give them space and validate their emotions

As long as your child isn’t hurting themselves or others, it is actually beneficial to let the meltdown happen so that it can burn itself out naturally. Try not to get triggered or angry in response, for that will only lead to escalation.

  1. Find a way for your child to decompress

Often rituals are the best way for us to tackle difficult emotions. You could listen to music together, go on a bike ride or play football outside. Whatever it is, make it a frequent activity and watch how your kid’s meltdowns become dramatically less explosive. 

  1. Give them some time and space after you pick them up from school

Your child is already emotionally burdened by a long day at school. It doesn’t help to burden them further with long conversations and complex questions. Leave that for later. If you’re driving, perhaps put on the radio. If you’re walking, say little or comment on the world around you.

  1. Feed them

Don’t wait for your kid to tell you that they’re hungry after school. Make the first move and offer them healthy snacks like veggies and fruit, as well as water,  the moment you pick them up. We are all susceptible to a bit of hangry behaviour – your child is no different.

How to deal with After School Restraint Collapse

October 16, 2022

Even if you’ve never heard of the After-School Restraint Collapse (ASRC), if you’re a parent you will have seen it in action. Your child is an angel at school but becomes a nightmare at home. Perhaps they scream, weep, throw things or are generally unpleasant. Why is this happening, and what can you do about it? 

ASRC happens because children keep it together all day at school, doing what they need to do to be “good”, and once they get home they have run out of energy and their restraints collapse, hence the name. It’s like a bubble that grows and grows. It will eventually pop. ASCR may be also linked more to fatigue than an emotional breakdown. If your child has just started full school days, they are likely to be tired. With exhaustion comes meltdowns. 

So, what can be done? Here are some top tips to help you navigate the topsy-turvy world of ASCR.  

  1. Give them space and validate their emotions

As long as your child isn’t hurting themselves or others, it is actually beneficial to let the meltdown happen so that it can burn itself out naturally. Try not to get triggered or angry in response, for that will only lead to escalation.

  1. Find a way for your child to decompress

Often rituals are the best way for us to tackle difficult emotions. You could listen to music together, go on a bike ride or play football outside. Whatever it is, make it a frequent activity and watch how your kid’s meltdowns become dramatically less explosive. 

  1. Give them some time and space after you pick them up from school

Your child is already emotionally burdened by a long day at school. It doesn’t help to burden them further with long conversations and complex questions. Leave that for later. If you’re driving, perhaps put on the radio. If you’re walking, say little or comment on the world around you.

  1. Feed them

Don’t wait for your kid to tell you that they’re hungry after school. Make the first move and offer them healthy snacks like veggies and fruit, as well as water,  the moment you pick them up. We are all susceptible to a bit of hangry behaviour – your child is no different.

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