You spend a pleasant day with your kids visiting the pumpkin patch, enjoying a picnic lunch, and stopping on the way home for a frozen yogurt. It has been free from tantrums, whining, and potty accidents, and you start feeling pretty darn good about your parenting skills. You didn’t even have to bribe your preschooler to climb down off the hayrack ride when it was over. You’re a parenting rock star! As you pull into the driveway, you suddenly hear something from the back seat. “Stop pinching me!”, “I’m hungry!”, “My shoe came off!” You look down at the clock: 4 PM. The dreaded witching hour has arrived.
At our house, witching hour is usually a two hour time frame from about 4- 6 PM. This time period is characterized by extreme crabbiness, hunger, and fatigue mixed with intermittent periods of intense hyperactivity, and a general state of disarray. I attempt to make some form of dinner while my older son wildly drives his cozy coupe through the living room, and my little babe crawls around searching for dangerous items to chew on.
I reached a point where I was just plain tired of the madness. I began looking for ways to combat witching hour and survive this part of the day without losing my mind. Here a few tricks I use when I’m faced with crabby, hungry kids and a short temper:
Let Your Kids Into The Kitchen: My attempts to make dinner while my preschooler seemed to grow more demanding by the minute were a major source of stress. I realized what he really wanted was my time and attention. Now when I’m in the kitchen, I will often let my preschooler “help” by cooking something simple alongside me. He loves playing chef and I always have pre-made cookie dough or ingredients for English Muffin pizzas on hand.
Embrace Your Silly Side: When my sweet angels have me ready to pull out my hair, I know I need a good laugh to kick my bad mood to the curb. We like to dig out old Halloween costumes, wigs, and masks and take silly selfies. Singing and acting out the children’s song Going On A Bear Hunt is another favorite at our house.
Have A Few Quick Activities On Hand- During times of extreme desperation, I dig out simple activities for my busy little bees that don’t require much preparation. I enjoy making scented glitter moon sand as much as the next mom, but there are times when that’s not an option. Instead, I grab my kids’ inflatable pool and dump a bunch of plastic balls into it. Presto! DIY ball pit. Yes, you will have to clean up those little plastic balls later, but it will be worth it for 15 minutes allowing you to put dinner in the oven or hide in the closet and eat Reese’s peanut butter cups.