Tips to Beat After-school Meltdowns

Mother with her son
Has your child ever come home from school or child care and activated meltdown-mode? 

School days can be overwhelming for kids. They’re taking in new experiences, interacting with peers, and navigating new attachments with their caregivers at school. Similarly to how adults feel after a full day of work, where we’re using our brains, interacting with others, and trying to keep it together–kids feel that too at the end of the day and it results in something called restraint collapse. Restraint collapse is what drives after school meltdowns. 

The behaviors we see from restraint collapse can be frustrating, and often our first instinct is to address the behaviors in an attempt to make them stop. What kids really need in those moments is connection. When kids feel connected with us, they feel secure and safe to move through those tough feelings from the day and bring their bodies and brains back to baseline. 

The Power of Connection

Now, you might be thinking “Sounds great but my evenings are already chaotic and stressful! How am I going to add one more thing to my list?!” Here’s the thing: connecting with our kids happens in the small moments. It doesn't require a special outing, a day of 1:1 attention, or anything elaborate (and let’s be honest–nobody has time for that on a weekday evening of trying to feed, bathe, and put kids to bed). You can fit in small connecting moments before school, after school, and before bedtime. 

 Simple Phrases for Connection

There are so many ways to connect with children, and you can choose what feels best for your unique child and family culture. Want more ideas? Alyssa Blask Campbell’s book Tiny Humans, Big Emotions will help you navigate tantrums, meltdowns, and defiance in a way that supports emotional intelligence in children. It comes with a bonus guide, 50 Ways to Connect with Children.

We are also so excited to share that she will be joining us for our October Family Webinar, "Emotional Intelligence + Why It Matters". Register today! 
Alyssa Blask Campbell, CEO of Seed & Sew
About the Author
Alyssa Blask Campbell
CEO of Seed & Sew
Alyssa Blask Campbell, CEO of Seed & Sew, has a master’s degree in early childhood education, is a leading expert in emotional development, and travels the globe speaking on the topic. Her podcast, “Voices of Your Village,” is a gathering place for parents, caregivers, teachers, and experts, creating a modern parenting village and reaches listeners in more than 100 countries. She co-created the Collaborative Emotion Processing (CEP) method with Lauren Stauble, an Assistant Professor of Early Education and mindfulness consultant, an approach that changes the way adults experience children’s emotions so we can respond with intention and raise emotionally intelligent humans. Their research of the CEP method and experiences as educators and parents will be shared in Tiny Humans, Big Emotions, publishing October 10, 2023 from HarperCollins.

Alyssa’s company, Seed & Sew, serves people around the globe through speaking, consulting, online courses, and early childhood professional development programs, sharing tools and expertise to build emotional intelligence. She has been featured as an emotional development expert in publications such as The Washington Post, Kids VT, Burlington Free Press, and Family Education. Alyssa’s show-up-as-you-are approach welcomes people into her village to get support at all ages and stages, shame free. “It’s never too early or too late to start,” she explains.
Mother with her son