My exhausted child’s tantrum after a day in junior infants is best sorted with a hug and a snack. Spare me the negative label of ‘After School Restraint Collapse’
If someone could please tell me where the kill switch is on my kid’s moods, that would be great. It would make Monday to Friday afternoons that little bit easier. Helping my kid understand and feel her emotions is a very real part of growing up, but we’re in new territory here, with our eldest having started junior infants last September. A whole new world has opened up to her, with new demands, new faces and new rules. It’s exhausting her and having an effect on her behaviour.
I can see the mental overload perfectly written on her face, dancing through her limbs and burning somewhere in her chest as the day doesn’t end quick enough for her. She turns from being my fun and happy little girl, as she whirls through the school gates at 9:15am with her pigtails flopping from side to side, to a physically drained and mentally spent kid who switches to attack mode once those feet bound across our threshold. Attacking Mum is a young child’s prerogative when they’re only learning how to manage their emotions. And it’s usually sorted with a hug and a possible sugar fix.
It’s almost as though she is on overdrive once the schoolbag is down and the uniform is nestled in a creased lump in the corner of the room. In an effort to expel this intense extra energy, which seems to have been bubbling away under her school tie all day, she may become unreasonable, emotional or the antagonism is turned up to 11. It may not last long, but it has a strong effect on her until I hug her gently with a reassurance and acceptance which she seems to need, and I want to give. A sandwich, and a biscuit after, usually gives the green light to my happy little girl returning, as the strain of her school day dissipates.
I wondered if this behaviour was to be expected when the school day ended. Or was I simply forgetting how hard my own school days were and how much my mum’s fairy cakes were needed after the school bell rang and I quickly ran…
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