Why do kids save the tantrums for when we collect them?

Feb 14, 2023
Toddler tantrum

Parents are so often completely confused about this. School reports that they’ve had a great day, they’ve been happy and have played well, then we arrive to pick them up and within a minute or two – bam! The tantrum kicks off.

They can scream, kick, hit, shout, go on and on about something they want that we can’t give them. 

It can be excruciating for parents, especially if we’re being observed by other parents or the teachers who look dumbfounded! 

Here’s what’s going on:

When they see us at pick up, or when we get home, they feel safe to let out the big feelings they’ve kept inside, even if they’ve been really happy at school.

They may have missed us and when we arrive, it reminds them of that, and as they find it hard to express their feelings, the feelings come out in a meltdown or they might dig their heels in and be very demanding.

After school they are often tired, hungry, and Crabby with a capital C.

The message we need to give them is that we love them unconditionally.

We are their safe space.

We actually need to help them let their feelings out with us, knowing that we will still love them no matter what.

So here are a few tips:

When you meet your child, try not to rush them, and give them as much of your full attention as you can.

Try to put your phone away and engage them in conversation – asking in general ‘What did you do today?’ doesn’t always get a response but something like:

‘What was your favourite game today?’

Or ‘What story did you have?’ can get a reply.

Otherwise talk about things you see around you and ask their opinion.

Dealing with a meltdown

If your child does have a meltdown, the best thing you can do is to stay calm and understand their feelings.

Don’t be afraid of their feelings, just allow them to happen and be empathetic.

“Looks like you kept some big feelings inside today and now they’re coming out.  That’s ok. I’m here for you”

“For you to shout at me like that shows me you’re having a hard time and you don’t know how to express it in words”

How can you learn more?

I know that’s easier said than done!

If you like this approach, please join my Please join me in my FREE Masterclass.

The 3 Secrets to Managing Tantrums, Meltdowns and Kids who Refuse to Listen’ where you’ll learn so much.

Or try downloading my FREE downloadable guide with 10 tried-and-tested ways to help your child with their emotions: 10 tried and tested Solutions for Managing Tantrums and Mood Swings


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