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After School Love

Lea really enjoys school. She participates in all the activities and speaks fondly of her teachers and peers at home.
Some days that I fetch Lea from school, she is in a good mood for the afternoon. Other days, within minutes of getting in the car, she has an emotional outburst.
This occurrence has been given the term “After school restraint collapse” by Psychotherapist Andrea Nair.
This means that when children get to their safe place, they feel that they can express what they may have been holding in all day. The emotions at school may even have been positive and the build-up of them and without knowing the coping strategies to deal with them, can make our children meltdown.
I realised over the first few weeks of school last year that I could assist Lea with the transition from home to school. Instead of being completely overwhelmed with these emotions, I could assist her with strategies that would make these emotions easier to process.
1. Connecting💗When I get to school to fetch Lea, I always make eye contact & give her a big hug. On the way to the car, I tell her how happy I am to see her and how much I missed her. While buckling her into her car seat, I listen to what she has to say. It may be that she needs an extra kiss on her leg where she bumped it on the jungle gym or it may be about something new she experienced that day.
2. Needs💗 Most days I have a fresh water or juice bottle with me for her to down as we drive home. One of her beloved dolls is usually in the car too & even she expresses how glad she is to see Lea & they cuddle as we drive home.
3. Relaxing💗 When we get home, I give Lea space to do her own thing. She has been in a busy environment all morning with all her senses working. As a high school teacher, I know how by the end of the school day you can feel your brain buzzing. Most days Lea goes to her barbies and plays with them on her own. When she is ready, she will ask me to play with her. Sometimes when we get home, she will ask me to play with her straight away. I do and often I find after 10 minutes, she is playing on her own.
4. Quality Time💗 Each afternoon, once Lea has reenergised, we do something together where we have each other’s undivided attention. We may swim, play barbies, make ice-cream cones, bake or I might paint Lea’s nails.
These 4 strategies above are simple to do and seem to calm Lea down after a busy time.
It can be tough to see our children upset and often we say, “Don’t cry” & our goal is to get them to stop crying. As adults, we often feel better after a good cry. I see Lea’s crying as a way for her to let those emotions out & to process what she is feeling.
I feel blessed that I am her safe place & that she shares her raw emotions with me 💗
This afternoon she got a manicure & pedicure from me 😊