• For a child who’s having trouble adjusting to the demands of school days, which involve being cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally active, it’s understandable to feel burned out. Returning to the familiarity of their home (and, just as importantly, of you) may internally signal to them that they are safe to release potentially pent-up emotions from the day.

    When you feel stuck wondering how to help your child, there are many choices you can make. If your child is receptive to being asked questions, you can mention the feelings you’re noticing in them and empower them to problem-solve. For example, “I can see you’re feeling – insert emotion – right now. What do you think would help you feel better?/What can I do to help you?” If your child is too overwhelmed to brainstorm ideas or voice what they need, instead of asking, you can offer them choices. For example, “I can see you’re feeling ___ right now after the long day you’ve had. Would you like a hug and talk about your day, or would you like some time to play/read/watch a video?”

    This can be something that you do periodically as needed, or it can become a daily ritual that helps your child notice and label their feelings, feel understood by you, and recognize the choices they have to decompress. You might also notice things in their environment you can alter; for example, if your child is sensitive to bright lights or sounds, consider dimming the room lighting/turning down any noise-makers.

    Adjusting to the demands of school can be stressful! Reflecting feelings, giving choices, and structuring the environment are a few things you can try to help your child navigate the transition back home.