You Asked, We Answered: Understanding and Managing ‘Afterschool Attitude’

As a parent of a school-aged child, you might be familiar with the concept of “Afterschool Attitude.” It’s that distinct shift in behaviour and mood that often occurs when your child returns home from school. Understanding what Afterschool Attitude is, its underlying causes, and how to manage it can make the transition from school to home smoother for both you and your child.

What is Afterschool Attitude?

Afterschool Attitude refers to the behavioural and emotional changes that many children display after a day at school. It often involves a mix of fatigue, frustration, and sometimes even resistance to simple tasks or requests.

Reasons Behind Afterschool Attitude

Understanding the reasons behind Afterschool Attitude is essential to helping your child manage it effectively:

  1. Physical and Mental Exhaustion: School requires children to be engaged, focused, and active for several hours, which can very often be draining.
  2. Emotional Release: During the school day, managing emotions takes a lot of effort for many children and the release of these feelings often occurs when they return home.
  3. Transition Stress: The transition from a structured school environment and routine to the unstructured atmosphere of home can be stressful for some children and they may need some time to transition.

How to Deal with Afterschool Attitude

Now that you understand what Afterschool Attitude is and what might cause it, let’s explore how you can deal with it:

  1. Provide a Healthy Snack: Offer a nutritious snack and a drink as soon as your child returns home. This can help alleviate irritability.
  2. Allow Downtime: While, as parents, we often want to find out about our children’s day as soon as we see them, it is often best to first let your child have some quiet, unstructured time to unwind. Avoid bombarding them with questions or tasks immediately upon their arrival as this can lead to them feeling overwhelmed.
  3. Communicate: Encourage your child to express their feelings or frustrations, and actively listen to them. This can help them process their emotions and provide a sense of relief.
  4. Maintain Routine: Establish a consistent afterschool routine, which may include time for homework, play, and relaxation. Predictability can ease the transition from school to home.
  5. Limit Screen Time: It’s important to set boundaries on screen time, ensuring your child has time for physical activity, creative play, and social interactions.
  6. Encourage Physical Activity: Physical activity can help release pent-up energy and improve mood. Consider outdoor play or a quick walk after school.
  7. Be Patient: Remember that Afterschool Attitude is a common phase for many children. Be patient and provide a nurturing and understanding environment.

Afterschool Attitude is a natural response for many children, and understanding its causes can help you manage it more effectively. By providing a supportive environment, nourishment, and open communication, you can help your child transition smoothly from school to home and create a more harmonious family atmosphere. Remember, this phase is temporary and, with time and patience, it usually fades away as your child matures and learns to cope with the demands of school and life.