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***(Singapore) "After-school Restraint Collapse" common; how to help your child recover

June 30, 2019, Singapore Asia One: How to cope when your child has meltdowns for no reason after school Picture this. You're waiting at the gates for your little one. He approaches you with a big beaming smile. "He must have had a good day," you think to yourself. But as soon as you enter the car, he goes into full meltdown mode. Sounds familiar? That's because it's common. This behaviour in kids is known as the After-school Restraint Collapse. WHAT IS AFTER-SCHOOL RESTRAINT COLLAPSE? The phenomenon usually happens after a long day in school. Your child could be yelling, screaming, or crying with no real reason. Any attempts to talk them down seem futile. Sometimes, you may also be met with stone-cold silence, where your kid withdraws into himself. According to counsellor Andrea Loewen Nair, who coined the term, after-school restraint collapse can happen throughout the school year but normally occurs during the first few months of school as they adjust to the transition. As parents, we know it can be exhausting and confusing to see this behaviour after you receive glowing reports from teachers praising your little one. So you might ask yourself "how can he be so well-behaved at school but so difficult when he comes home? And why is this happening?" CAUSES BEHIND AFTER-SCHOOL RESTRAINT COLLAPSE Ms Nair explains that after-school restraint collapse happens because kids are releasing their pent-up emotions after holding it together throughout the day. You can think of it as a social or behaviour threshold. Your child has been on his best behaviour all day and co-operated with his teachers while getting along with his peers without an issue. … Psychologists believe after-school restraint collapse is a type of defensive attachment strategy. … CONNECT POSITIVELY Give him a big hug when you pick him up from school and tell him how much you love him. Talking your child down when he's in full meltdown mode is impossible. After all, you don't want to talk or give an answer to "how are you?" if you're bawling your eyes out! Instead of posing this question, connect with your child with positive actions and words. CREATE A SPACE FOR REFLECTION Give a quiet space for your child to process what's happened and collect himself. If you are driving home, put the radio on for some background noise. If he's having an after-school restraint collapse, he's not ready to talk. Giving him the space to reflect helps your little one readjust from school and regulate his emotions. …

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