The after effects of school
Why does my child come home and have a meltdown?
One of the most common questions on parenting an autistic child is, “why is my child fine at school but comes home and has a meltdown?”.
This question always poses two areas of doubt:
1. Is the teacher telling the truth that the child is fine in school?
2. What are you doing wrong that means your child has this reaction to coming home?
In fact there is a completely different reason for your child behaving in this way. They will have spent the day masking which is exhausting and puts enormous strain on the individual. The relief of returning home to a place where they feel comfortable, safe and able to regulate is huge and often results in a huge outpouring of stress and emotion. For more information on masking, click here.
Why do they have a meltdown at home?
In many ways you should be looking at your child’s reaction as an enormous compliment to how safe they feel when with you. We also understand however that this can be very difficult for you to deal with and it can get to the point that parents almost dread their child returning home from school.
Every child will react differently to the end of the school day, so here are some tips that may help your child to regulate and process their school day in a more positive fashion.
How to help your child after school
Allow your child to return into the family home without any questions about how their day was. They probably won’t be in a position to answer that question at that point as they won’t have been able to process adequately yet.
Ensure there is a snack and drink available for your child that they can access without having to ask. Many individuals with autism struggle to eat properly when they are stressed and they may not have eaten or drunk an adequate amount during the day. Dehyrdation and low sugar levels can add to a sensory imbalance.
If you have more than one child, ensure that your neuro diverse child is able to have time alone and away from their siblings if they wish.
Don’t book extra curricular activities too soon after the school day finishing.
If your child is having a difficult time don’t worry about homework until your child is adequately regulated.
Don’t assume that because your child is having a difficult post school time, that they have had a bad day at school, positive experiences can be as difficult to process as negative ones.