HAVE you ever wondered why your child throws a tantrum when you pick them up from school or daycare?
Well, according to Parent Educator and social worker Geneveieve Muir, there’s a plausible explanation that says it’s actually quite common.
The mother-of-four, who founded Connected Parenting, calls it the after-school reticence breakdown.
“Essentially, it’s the result of our kid working so hard to keep him away from his parents all day,” she tells Fabulous.
“At daycare or school, they need to share, take turns, listen and follow directions.
“For young children, this can be absolutely exhausting, and when they see their parents or primary caregivers, they can’t hold it together, and we often see children ‘falling apart’ in ways that can seem atypical.”
This can look like whining, a fight with a sibling, or a full-blown breakdown.
“It makes sense when we think about it. Our kids had to be their best selves all day, trying so hard to share, doing the right thing, navigating friendships and rules. Then they see us, their safe base, and they just collapse,” she explains.
So how do you know if your child is experiencing a post-school restraint breakdown?
Gen says, “Parents will know because it seems to happen right after school and seems like a very sudden change in mood and character for no apparent reason.”
In a video on her TikTok page, Gen explains that it’s actually “a huge compliment.”
“Even if it doesn’t feel like it,” she adds.
This is because they see you as their safe space that allows them to be their true selves.
What should parents do?
Center yourself: “If you’re going to pick up your child, just take a deep breath before you go through the gate. Put your phone down and be ready to pick it up where it is,” says Gen.
“Even if you’re excited, they might not be. You may have had a rough day.”
Create a ritual: “Sometimes the breakdown in restraint can be about our kids missing us all day, so think about creating a bonding ritual so your kid can keep a piece of you with them throughout the day,” Gen suggests before.
“That can be drawing a heart on your wrist and hers and telling them you can both press the heart to stay ‘connected’ throughout the day.”
eating is important: “Keep it handy in the car, stroller, or in your bag,” says Gen.
“Kids get ‘hungry’ and eating can prevent many of those moments of after-school meltdown.”
Be ok with her feelings: “Often they’ve been through that all day and it’s taken a lot of effort, when they see us, their safe base, everything just falls apart,” explains Gen.
“If possible, stay out of fixing or solving and just listen. Sometimes they just need to download and feel like we get it.”
Finally, if your child struggles a lot with this gene, it says to rewind the schedule after school so things are less rushed.
“They may need more time out with you as they adjust and settle in,” she says.