Experiencing a Foul Child After School? Combat After School Restraint Collapse

What in the heck is “after school restraint collapse” and how does it affect your family?

There are something like a zillion parenting buzzwords. Oh, and that list is growing every day. So, it’s no wonder that you’re not always up on the hip, cool new mummy-lingo. Hey, don’t stress. There are only so many new vocab words one mum can handle in a day. If “after school restraint collapse” is new to you, it’s probably only the wording that’s throwing you.

If your child is coming home from school and being completely foul, it’s likely there’s a reason. And they’re not just tired. Same with prep kids, if you’re getting the serious kinder-tudes from your little school-starter… again, we can explain why! Read on…

Your kiddo has been at school all day long. She’s been busy keeping quiet as the teacher speaks, walking in a line and being otherwise ‘good’. After hours of pushing down all of that pent-up energy and spending all of her efforts controlling herself, she’s totally ready to let go when she walks out the door and heads home.

Chances are that your child actively restrains herself all day long at school. Well, she might not. If your child isn’t one of the restrained students in her class, you’re probably looking forward to a nice, long note from her teacher (and by looking forward to, we completely mean something in your future that you are in no way looking forward to). In either case, your child is probably feeling at least a little frustrated when she gets out of school for the day.

So, what does this all mean? Most likely that your child is pretty much about to explode (or implode) when she gets home. And then you rush at her with, “How was your day? What did you do? Did you remember all of your spelling words? How was that math test?” Whoa! You’re about to witness a major freak out. Take a step back, give your child some breathing room and try to let her decompress.

Along with holding a detective-level line of questioning until your kiddo is ready to talk, you can also try a few other mummy methods to battle the “after school restraint collapse.” It’s tempting to get everything done right after school. You want some relaxation time after dinner, so you set up a first-thing homework time. Um, this is not the way to stop the possible meltdown that your child might have. She needs to let that stress out, not build more up. Add some break time after school.

When your child gets home, just let her be. If she really, really wants to do homework right away – okay. If not, let her play in the backyard, kick back on the couch, read a book (for enjoyment, not for school) or get imaginative in her dress-up bin. Whatever your child chooses to do, make sure it’s fun – for her. Keep in mind, your idea of what fun should mean to a child may not be hers. Remember, you’re trying to lay off the questions. Instead of giving her 450 choices or asking her to brainstorm play ideas, just tell her to choose whatever she wants to do. Okay, maybe not whatever. After all it has to be safe and mum approved. Oh yeah, and a tasty snack wouldn’t hurt either.

More information on after school restraint collapse can be found here.

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Erica Loop is a mum, parenting writer and educator with an MS in child development. Along with writing for websites such as PBS Parents,, Scary Mommy,, Modern Mom, and others, she also is the creator of a kids' activities and art blog.

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