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Parent's Perspective: How to handle your kids' after-school meltdowns

Parent's Perspective: Helping reduce after-school meltdowns
Parent's Perspective: Helping reduce after-school meltdowns 01:50

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- As school routines are about to kick back into high gear, those first few weeks can be both challenging and exhausting.

Kids can get rundown and then come to more demands, which can lead to tantrums.

In this week's Parent's Perspective, KDKA's Heather Abraham spoke with AHN Child Psychiatrist Dr. Gary Swanson about how to lesson those after-school meltdowns for kids of any age.

Dr. Swanson says first, put yourself in your kids' shoes and remember that no matter the age, transitions and change can be stressful. 

From sleep changes to new school buildings and new teachers, it can take time to adjust.

Dr. Swanson also says to let your kids decompress and that a snack is a good way to reconnect, let them separate from the stress of the day, and re-energize.

He also recommends limiting the demands of them when they first walk in the door -- which can mean anything from chores to a barrage of questions, which can come off as demands.

Instead, Dr. Swanson says to share a joke, tell them about your day, and start things off by saying something like "It's so nice to see you, I missed you today."

He also suggests talking through what the rest of the day will look like, when dinner will be, what practices might be scheduled, and any other things that are lined up.

Dr. Swanson says to discuss the best time for homework to be done, saying that what's best for your kids is when they'll be the least stressed about the work and able to get it done in a timely fashion.

He suggests limiting screen time immediately when the kids come home, also. It can turn into a downward spiral of not engaging with the rest of the family or dealing with stress or problems from the day. 

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