Frances started crying and melting down as soon as she entered the car on the way back from day camp yesterday. At first, there was no identifiable trigger: we had no idea beyond possible tiredness what could have been bothering her so much.
The meltdown continued all night: eventually, as she related the behaviour of the other day-camp children and begged us not to send her again, we knew that the episode had a social trigger. Being around the other children had been very stressful for her.
So, we had a dilemma, Pink Cup Dad and I: allow her to avoid a social situation because she finds social situations stressful and she misses the opportunity to practice the skills that would help to ease the stress in the future; make her go and we add to her stress.
The best that we can do in that situation is to wait until the following morning to see if her reluctance to go is still present and determine what would be in her best interests at that point.
This is what we did. She woke easily and got ready to go with only the usual fuss this morning — there was no reluctance to go.
So, once there, I quietly informed the camp workers that she had been having a hard time and asked them to call me if she were to find the day too stressful.
In the past, we have withdrawn her from day camps after only one or two days; at other times, she has coped well enough to stay the course.
So far, we’ve had no calls or texts this day. This doesn’t mean that we will avoid a meltdown this evening; it simply means that she’s coping until the end of the day.