Children who Explode when They Get Out of School

Many children explode when they get out of school – in the form of tantrums, bad behavior, etc. This is completely normal and often occurs during childhood.
Children who Explode when They Get Out of School

Last update: 24 November, 2020

Classes have already started in this atypical school year. And some parents may have observed that their little ones go into school happy, but the opposite is true when they leave in the afternoon. Below, we’ll talk about children who explode when they get out of school and what you can do about it.

These reactions are called “emotional breakdowns” and are totally normal and frequent in childhood. We must take into account that their routines have changed completely. They’ve gone from being at home most of the time for several months, to returning to school and adapting to the new situation. And that’s more true than ever this year due to the global crisis we’re currently experiencing.

Why are there children who explode when they get out of school?

As we’ve already mentioned, the return to school means a change in children’s daily routines and habits. Although we see our children happy about going back to school, it’s important that we remember that every change requires adaptation.

Children who Explode when They Get Out of School

Adults also find it difficult to go back to work after the summer vacation. However, we have the emotional resources to cope with these changes; a young child doesn’t yet possess them.

Throughout the day, children accumulate many emotions that, due to their immaturity, they’re unable to express. They may miss you, they may not like their teachers, they may have become upset with a friend, they may not feel well… Managing all those emotions and feelings without their attachment figures can be very complicated and overwhelming for them.

Getting home is like reaching a place of refuge where they feel protected and safe, close to their attachment figures. Therefore, many children no longer feel the need to “hold it together” and end up exploding. All those pent-up emotions have to come out at some point, and that’s just what happens when they finally feel safe in their home.

This “explosion” that occurs when they leave school and arrive home is called “after-school restraint collapse.” It’s a normal process and one that often occurs in childhood.

The way this manifests itself can vary from child to child. For example, it may appear in the form of tantrums, rule-breaking, mutism (not wanting to talk or answer questions when they get home), regressing to certain more childish behaviors in relation to their age, etc.

Children who explode when they get out of school: At what age does this occur?

There’s no specific age at which this emotional breakdown appears. In general, it usually appears during childhood, since little ones aren’t yet emotionally mature enough.

What’s more, around the age of 2-3 years it can appear more frequently. That’s due to the beginning of the preschool stage, which involves numerous changes in children’s routines.

In this sense, as they grow up and mature and control their emotions, these behaviors will eventually disappear.

Children who explode when they get out of school: What can parents do?

When these situations occur, it’s completely normal for parents to feel confused and not know what to do. We’re not sure what’s going on with our little ones and wonder if we may have said or done something to cause such a reaction. In these situations, we can consider the following strategies:

Accompany them in their emotions and feelings

It’s important that we let our children express what they feel in the best way they can. And, at the same time, we need to show them that we’re by their side and understand them.

One child may be tired from getting up early, and another child who’s been so restrained in class, may lose control after school and feel the need to run and jump… We parents have to find out what’s behind the behavior and look for the most appropriate solution.

Children who Explode when They Get Out of School

Understand them in order to connect with them

It’s important to avoid power struggles in these situations. We have to know that this situation isn’t our fault, nor are our children trying to misbehave. Rather, it’s a matter of the child’s level of maturity and development.

When they’re young, kids aren’t able to verbalize what they feel or what happens to them. Therefore, it’s important that we talk to them and catch up with them so that they feel that we understand them. This will be indispensable when it comes to helping them overcome these difficult moments.

Use stories as a resource to find out why children explode when they get out of school

A story can always be a good resource to find out what might be going on with your child and start a conversation with them about it. Stories are great tools for children because they can identify with their characters and better understand their emotions. Sometimes, they can even help them get their emotions out and find ways to deal with them if they come back.

Find personalized solutions for your child

Once you know the cause and the predominant emotion in your child, you have to look for solutions that will help your child to better manage the situation.

Some children may benefit from sports to help release energy. Therefore, it might be a good idea to sign them up for an after-school class that they enjoy. They can also practice yoga, do relaxation exercises, etc. You’ll need to find one that’s right for your child.

In short, there are many children who explode when they leave school because the emotions they hold in at school come out when they get home. The above strategies can help you to better control the situation.

Let’s not forget that adapting to new routines takes time and this is completely normal. Even so, if your child’s behavior worsens, it’s important that you consult your child’s doctor or a child therapist to find a solution.

Remember that, in the meantime, patience, understanding, love, and support will be essential strategies to make your child feel better.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Cassà, È. L. (2005). La educación emocional en la educación infantil. Revista interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado, 19(3), 153-167.
  • GARCÍA, M. D. M. V., & EDUCATIVA, I. (2009). El desarrollo emocional de los niños. Innovación y Experiencias Educativas, 15.
  • IBARROLA, B. (2011). Cómo educar las emociones de nuestros hijos. Trabajo.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.