DS having tantrums after school - how can I help him?

(29 Posts)
notjustamummythankyou Thu 19-Sep-13 20:00:31

Evening all. My DS started school this year and he's doing really well. He's settled in quickly, is lucky enough to have good friends in his class he knows already, and seems to be making new friends easily.

I expected him to be tired after school, but never anticipated how exhausted he would be. He goes to a childminder after school 3 days a week and I pick him up after work at about 4.15pm. He's going from being hyperactive (always a sign off impending exhaustion) to total melt down in minutes. I try to fend it off with snacks and drinks and to keep him going, but he's finding it so hard.

Tiredness is one thing, but this week DS has started to scream and shout over the littlest of things, and has lashed out - something he has never done before. I am finding it quite difficult remaining patient and understanding, especially with a younger DD who is also settling in to a new childcare setting!

DS only turned 4 in August, so is one of the very youngest. He's always been one for getting tired quickly and, in fact, only fully dropped his naps at the beginning of the summer. Has anyone been in the same situation, and how did you cope with it? Any tips? Thanks!

HumphreyCobbler Thu 19-Sep-13 20:03:28

Does the childminder give him a snack and a drink when she picks him up? Maybe his blood sugar is too low by 4.15?

I do sympathise though, he is so little. My DD is quite stroppy now she has started Reception and she is nearly 5.

notjustamummythankyou Thu 19-Sep-13 20:07:06

Yes - she gives him toast, fruit and milk. He's always starving though, so I did think that I should take a snack that he could eat on the way home too.

The childminder has three children of her own (two in the same school as DS), so she seems used to grumbling tummies at 3.15pm!

We're only at the end of the second full week. Half term seems to be weeks away ... sad

measuringcup Thu 19-Sep-13 20:07:14

Its years ago with mine but I ended up letting them sleep an hour. Wasn't too bad for mine as they still slept at night but I can understand why you wouldn't want to.

Otherwise we did quite time, tv and beanbag and hope they don't nod off.

DS was like this, also a summer baby. I'm afraid the only advice I can give is to ride it out (he's 7 now and a mature yr3 boy wink). His first term in reception was a bit of an endurance test. Our routine went something like:

3.15 pick up from school
3.30 snack and tv
4.30/5.00 tea
6.00 upstairs for bed

Sometimes he was asleep by 6.30 shock. He was having meltdowns most days, real screaming ab dabs.

There's nothing you're doing wrong, just keep being patient and it WILL get better. I promise.

A snack at the childminders, then tea by 5pm and bed by 6pm.

X-post grin

FriskyHenderson Thu 19-Sep-13 20:10:07

I have an August born boy and reception year was spent collecting him with sandwiches, an apple and a penguin bar; and on Fridays I brought the pushchair. Then a big hot dinner at about 4.30, some tv and by about 5.30 he was human again. He's a bolter so was frequently lost in the hedges around the playground too, so there was a 'if I don't run off' sticker chart. And no questions!! I wasn't allowed to ask anything and woe betide his sister if she told me what he'd eaten or who he'd played with.

It's all so new, so firm boundaries from you along with lots of food and headspace.

3boys3dogshelp Thu 19-Sep-13 20:18:00

I was in the exact same situation last year. My advice is food as soon as possible, lots of stories/cuddles/tv after school rather than anything which demands any input from him, absolutely no quizzing him about school (however much you want to know!!) and a ridiculously early bedtime for a couple of weeks. Within reason I tried to ignore the bad behaviour. I was so sad last year I felt like I had 'lost' my little boy to school but once he got into the swing of things at school the tantrums and irrational behaviour disappeared as fast as it started.
I promise it will get better soon.

Periwinkle007 Thu 19-Sep-13 20:18:27

You need to find what works for him. My daughter I think found the whole thing of being surrounded by so many people for so many hours just a bit too much. so I worked out that if I made her go to her room/the other room for about 5 mins quiet time on her own we generally avoided the big meltdown (this was only discovered after shoving her in her room in desperation during a big meltdown after putting up with it for months)

so our routine is to get home, have a drink and a biscuit then some quiet time. be that watching some tv, upstairs on her own whilst her sister is somewhere else, just time on her own getting changed out of her uniform, look at a book, run around the garden. but something without 'people' in the way. It is what works for her. It might be that with going back to the childminders with other children still being there is just too many people for him so perhaps she could try letting him sit quietly somewhere with his snack or have 5 minutes in a room on his own doing something where he can just shut off his brain a bit.

notjustamummythankyou Thu 19-Sep-13 20:25:41

Thank you so much everyone - really appreciated!

I've been taking his balance bike to school so I can get him back without too much incident (mines a bolter too,*Frisky*!). I think I'll bolt on the buggy board tomorrow so I can wheel him back if necessary.

We've been having tea at 5, bath at 6 and in bed by 7. He's asleep almost straight away, bless 'im.

I agree with you about firm boundaries along with buckets of patience. I forgot to mention that DS has also started wetting the bed. He seems to be tired, he's sleeping right through the urge to go.

I started a sticker chart too: it's called his 'I can do it!' chart. I originally started it to encourage him to get to the loo on time, but I've also started using it for other things - even if its just getting him home with him running off or sitting down and refusing to budge!

So far so (sort of) good, but I did cross one of his stickers out today after the lashing out. He understood why I did it, which is one thing I suppose.

It does seem that I'm just going to have to ride with all this, doesn't it?

notjustamummythankyou Thu 19-Sep-13 20:30:11

Sorry, Periwinkle - cross post. It's interesting what you say about time on their own. I hadn't thought of that. DS does like to have time out either playing with lego or just watching a bit of TV with his bear. I thrown him straight into sitting at the table for dinner, so may be I should give him more 'down time'.

zingally Thu 19-Sep-13 20:39:15

Very, very, VERY normal behaviour for a new school starter. It will get easier, but only slowly.

Also, the tantrums are part of "being back in safe environment with Mummy". He knows they'll get him nowhere at school, so he saves up all his day's frustrations for home. Difficult I know, but you are the person he feels "safe" enough to behave like that around!

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 19-Sep-13 21:05:35

I think I need this thread too. DS is a bit older but his behaviour is like this too, we have just moved country. Big changes are a lot of stress on them!

We have been talking a lot but on his terms, we like to share what was good/bad about our days over dinner. DP had a word with him today which I think helped. We have also made a "calm down corner" of the living room, cosy, with pillows/blankets etc where he can go if he feels angry to lash out at the pillows etc instead of me and the furniture etc!

Today he almost tipped over the coffee table which isn't the kind of thing he has ever tried to do before sad

Judyandherdreamofhorses Thu 19-Sep-13 21:14:34

Kind of nice to hear this is happening for others too. My DD was 4 in August and is only doing three days of school. It's in the same class she was in for half days of nursery last year (foundation/ ks1class), so not even many changes to cope with. But she's so exhausted and utterly horrid after school! Last week she even had a party to go to (4-6pm on a Friday!) and she did cope with that but was awful all weekend.

I'm trying to have something she likes to do when she gets home (baking, park, dog walk) and then tea, bath, bed starti at 4.30ish. We have a ten minute car journey to get home, so I give her a snack and let her just cry or shout or whatever she needs to do in the car!

I feel like I don't see the best side of her at the moment! But I'm glad she doesn't behave like this at school!

pointythings Thu 19-Sep-13 21:39:40

I think bar a bit more downtime you are doing everything right, and just to give you a bit of perspective - neither of my (winter born) DDs was reliably dry at night when they were just 4. A bit of regression is no big deal, I'd just go back to whatever routine you had before he was dry.

It will pass as he gets used to it.

Cat98 Thu 19-Sep-13 22:17:59

Good postin zingally.

It gets better op - definitely just ride it out whatever ways you can at the mo

notjustamummythankyou Thu 19-Sep-13 22:33:25

A lot of wise words here. Thank you so much.

There's an awful lot of change in our house at the moment: school, new childminder for both dc's, changes to my working days / hours. I think we're all feeling it a bit!

And breathe .....

smile

PatriciaHolm Thu 19-Sep-13 22:41:52

DS (7.5) still says "where's my snack?" as pretty much the first thing he says as he leaves school and is unbearable without it. Having eaten a hot cross bun he becomes about bearable! He still isn't dry at night either...

Um. Not sure that will have helped or depressed you!

flootshoot Fri 20-Sep-13 17:00:45

Yep same here. DS is spring born so in the middle and has never been the easiest child but after school meltdowns were pretty much what I expected. Not helped by the fact that we have a 2.5 mile walk/scoot home. I go armed with snacks!

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Sat 21-Sep-13 11:43:33

Thanks for posting this notjustamummythankyou. My DDhas been behaving very similarly, she isn't even one of the youngest in the year. I feel really bad for her as all her friends from nursery go to different schools and are having playdatemeets up after school; no way can she do it, too tired and tantrumy. They all do after school clubs too, but I just can't see DD managing them this side of Christmas at least.

hopingforbest Sat 21-Sep-13 22:12:45

yes. even when they were nearly five. didn't get better until Y1.

no after school activities until year one. snack on way home. and sometimes doing bedtime routine more or less immeadiatly - as in asleep by 6.30 at latest, often six. needed 11 and a half hours sleep a night.

if it is possible could ask school to let you go part time for a while until it gets better? i know this really helps some children as four is ridiculously young for full time school. but i know it's not an option for the majority.

anyway. very normal. this too will pass...

Judyandherdreamofhorses Sun 22-Sep-13 08:47:25

We had a better week - well, Friday was okay! Saturday was terrible though. Tantrum after tantrum. DD was asleep by 6.30 last night though, and seems (a bit) more like herself today. Maybe maximising sleep is the answer. TV turns her into to a zombie, unfortunately.

stantonherzlinger Sun 22-Sep-13 09:06:57

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Sparklingbrook Sun 22-Sep-13 09:11:02

DS1 was like that. it's almost as if he had held it in all day then came out of school all arsey and angry. He's 14 now so it was a long time ago, but it did improve.

I even went into school to see if there was anything wrong and his teacher was shocked.

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