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Dealing with an after school attitude?
Dealing with an after school attitude? by Darcy Zalewski

Does your kid seem to struggle with their emotions shortly after school pick up? Grumpy, teary, etc.?
The after school attitude is real, especially during back to school.
When my oldest child started full day kindergarten 3 years ago, people told me she would be tired and it'd be an adjustment. What I wish I'd known was how cranky she would be for the first month.
Each year the after school attitude has lessened. Partly because I've learned to anticipate it at the start of the school year and how to help my kids navigate it, and partly because they are growing up. This year I have a 3rd grader and a 1st grader!

Tips for dealing with the after school attitude

Mentally prepare yourself by being aware that they may be moody.
Don't ask how their day was immediately. Save that for later.
Tell them you are happy to see them.
Carry their backpack, coat, etc. for them (I used to insist they take care of their own stuff, but it created a battle that I didn't find worth it. I will ask my daughter to put things inside her backpack first rather than handing me 50 different things at once!)
Let them play on the playground for 10-15 mins if you can before leaving, or take them to a park before going home.
LOTS of counting inside your head and deep breaths. (Sometimes they have been SOOOO good all day they just can't seem to hold themselves together anymore and need to act out as a release. And you are their safe place. I take a lot of deep breaths and just continue walking home. Their behavior and attitudes usually turn around on their own if I can let it go.)
Still don't ask how their day was or "did you have a good day?" Instead ask questions like, who did you sit by at lunch? Who did you play with at recess? Did you read a book in class today?
If they don't want to answer your first question, ask something along the lines of "do you want to tell me about school now or later?" If they say later, try not to ask any more questions until they bring it up.
Offer a snack or have one ready.
Offer hugs and cuddles. Sometimes they need extra time to reconnect with you after school.
Try to keep your after school routine as consistent as possible. (I know this is not always easy! But kids get used to it and it can make it much smoother)
All of these do not work 100% of the time, but they often help the transition.


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