I don’t know about you, but when my kids get home in the afternoon (one after a day of kindergarten, the other after a day at daycare) they are hungry and cranky. I know that the kindergartner has had 2 snacks since lunch and the toddler had a snack about 15 minutes before she got picked up, they are staaaaaarving. And asking the question “How was school?” has reduced my 5 year old to tears on more than one occasion.
I read yesterday that this is caused by all of the mental and emotional energy spend “acting right” all day at school and daycare. Maybe that’s right. I’m not completely sure, but it makes sense. Whether this is correct or not, kids are tired and hungry in the afternoon, and simple questions or requests can send them over the edge! The article I read on the subject suggested these tactics for dealing with the after school blahs:
- Set out food for the kids to find when they get home. Don’t ask them if they are hungry, just assume they are. Set out something healthy that won’t ruin their appetite for dinner like grapes, carrot sticks, or a few crackers with cheese. One of my professors told me that when her son was small, the daycare he went to offered a small cup of chicken noodle soup for an extra $1 or so at 4:00 pm to help kids with this afternoon problem.
- Just sit quietly in the car. Greet your children at pick up with a smile and a hug and that’s it. Don’t ask them questions right away. Let them decompress and think alone. They’ll open up later- maybe during family dinner.
- Allow them time to themselves in their rooms.
Pretty simple. I tried this yesterday, but it was not perfect because like every other “normal” American family, we had somewhere to be at 6:30. I offered food right away and gave big hugs, but we had to quickly get changed for the 4-H Banquet. It’s hard on kids to rush around like that, but sometimes it can’t be helped.
I will add my own last advice: Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Try these things. See how they work. And let yourself off the hook if you have to rush everyone off to an event of some kind.