Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why does my child flip out after a fun day?

Picture this: you, your spouse and your three children have just spent the entire day at the funnest place you know of, Six Flags.  All three of your children ten, seven and five have admitted to having a great time and they have all been really well behaved too.  No arguments, no sibling issues, a wonderful day had by all. Your children did not even argue about leaving, which amazed you.  You are patting yourself on the back thinking a perfect day with the perfect family. Then suddenly screams erupt.  The ten year old hit the seven year old and the five year old is trying to take the toy that the seven-year old won.  Why did this happen?  Well there may be a few reasons.

Your children simply may be over tired and over stimulated.   Every parent knows that a toddler who is over tired is more likely to have a temper tantrum.  This is also true for older children.  When exhaustion sets in, it becomes very difficult to keep the emotions from coming forward.  The smallest, seemingly insignificant thing can set your children off.

Hunger or thirst might be another reason your children are acting up.  Even if they have just eaten, a long exhausting day can take a lot out of a child.  They may not realize how much they want to eat or drink until they get into a quiet car and start to think about it.  If your children are used to eating healthy food and then have a day where they eat “junk food” and sugary snacks, their bodies might be calling out for the good food they normally eat.

However, there is another reason your children flip out after a fun-filled family day.  By spending that family time together you have provided your children a safe place to let their emotions out.  Spending a day at an amusement park or any other fun-filled time all together, builds bonds.  These bonds make your children feel safe.  When your children feel safe, they are more likely to let their emotions and frustrations out.   It is a very good thing for your child to be allowed to release those emotions.  They just never seem to do it when it is convenient for us.  But then again, when is that ever convenient?

If you want to avoid complete meltdowns in your young children, try limiting the time there or planning the event so that they can take a rest. Make sure they stay well hydrated and bring some foods they are used to eating.  The biggest way to avoid these big meltdowns after family fun days is to allow your children to express anger and frustration to you every day.  If you allow them to get out their emotions every day, it will be less likely to build up and “explode” during or after these special days. 

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