Avoiding Toddler Meltdown

7 tips to surviving the witching hour

witching hour

From 4 to 6pm my children turn into something that I do not recognize and without fail chaos ensues in our home. Witching Hour has arrived.

I don’t know if they are just tired, bored, or hungry, but in this whirlwind of crazy, I feel like I’m putting out fires at every turn. I know it’s coming, each and every day. Yet, I find myself just suffering through until Daddy walks in the door and I throw the children at him because I can’t take it anymore.

Thankfully, my husband usually looks at me like a damsel in distress and graciously takes the kids off my hands so I can finish dinner. Within minutes, though, the guilt sets in, because I know he just had a hard day at work and the last thing he probably wants to come home to is a frazzled wife and crazy kids thrust upon him.

It might be blatantly obvious to some of you but it took me awhile to figure out that I needed a plan. Day in and out, I would just survive the crazy, without a plan. But no longer!

Today, we will formulate a plan of action so we will be victims of witching hour no more. Here are some ideas for overcoming the chaos of witching hour:

  • Plan your meals—I find this time of day to be extra stressful because I’m making dinner and trying to give my attention to the preparation of that tasty meal. Try and alleviate that burden by doing as much prep work during a quiet or nap time. I know those nap times are precious, but, in the long run, you will be grateful for a more peaceful home during “witching hour”.
    1. Crockpot meals are usually super easy and alleviate that burden.
    2. Once a month cooking\freezer meals – A few times a year I do this just to give me a fall back plan or a cooking night off yet it allows our family to still enjoy a homemade meal.
    3. If you have olders, you can be grooming them to take on a meal responsibility once a week. It will teach them an important life skill and free up some of your time. Win win!
  • Create Stations—This can be flexible depending on how much of your attention is needed. For example, I set up little play stations like a blanket with blocks, a train table with trains or legos, a spot with puzzles or books and we set a timer and rotate. They are excited for the new station and it keeps things interesting.
    1. Active stations are good too! Dancing, running, jumping, exercises anything you can do to make them get that energy out and switching stations at the sound of the timer.
  • Busy Bins—These work great for younger kids especially. I had a rice bin for a while and that made for long play times. Beware though! It is messy, but for the time you get, it’s worth the investment.
    1. Water play at the kitchen sink “washing dishes” or playing with toys
    2. Bean with cups transferring
    3. Little figures
    4. Buttons to sort
    5. Insert your own Pinterest search!
  • Table Time—Coloring or playdoh time.
  • Independant Room Time—During this time, separation is sometimes needed. They just feed off of each other and it can be helpful to give them some time apart so we have designated room time.
  • Screen Time—Save your screen time for this time of the day! It can be a lifesaver because they are excited and will probably sit still to play\watch something while you get your tasks done.
  • Clean up—When all is said and done, we have a super fast clean up. It usually takes 5 minutes to get the house in order before dad walks into the door. My husband loves coming home to a tidy house and so we try our best to have that done.

Hopefully some of these ideas have your creative juices flowing and you can start to think what would work best for you and your children so you no longer dread “witching hour”.

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