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7 Ways to Tackle the Witching Hour

Photograph by Twenty20

Ask any parent who has been at this parenting thing for more than a couple of months about the witching hour and they will absolutely know what you are talking about. It's a tricky time of day that in many houses lasts from after nap times until the kids go to bed. The kids are wound-up, grumpy, sad, or sometimes, all of the above. And with dinner to get on the table and nighttime routines to accomplish, it can be overwhelming to say the least. But, with a few tweaks it can be a more pleasant experience for all.

1. Change it up

Novelty is the cure for many things that ail kids. Switch up your nightly routine. Take a bath before dinner or get PJs on early so they can cozy up and watch a movie. Keeping things fresh and different often distracts kids from a serious case of the grumps.

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2. Let your kids help

I'll admit that I'm not one of those moms who loves to let my kids help. I would much rather get things done more quickly by myself. But lately, I've seen just what a difference it makes in my kids' attitudes when I let them be my helpers. Letting them pull up a chair to help me snap green beans for dinner or pour ingredients into a pot thrills their little hearts and I think at the core or the witching hour whining often lies the desire to simply be close to parents.

3. Baby wear

If your child is small enough, babywearing is a great solution to those nightly meltdowns. Bringing your babe close to you can keep them happy and calm during this daunting time of day.

Since the witching hour is a common occurrence for many families, why not commiserate together?

4. Go outside

Fresh air is the best medicine for the witching hour I always say. Of course there are schedules to keep to, but a quick game of tag in the backyard or a walk down the street and back is sometimes enough to lighten the mood and change everyone's attitudes.

5. Just snuggle

When all else fails, nothing helps a sad little one quite like some good old-fashioned snuggles.

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6. Host an at-home happy hour with friends

Since the witching hour is a common occurrence for many families, why not commiserate together? Invite a few friends and their kids over for an at-home happy hour. The kids can snack and entertain each other while the moms enjoy a glass of wine and appetizers. Good friends make everything better...even the witching hour.

7. Find acceptance

Sometimes you just have to face it: the witching hour is a very real thing and it's here for the long haul. I've found that letting go of my expectations for what a pleasant evening looks like and simply trying to accept that this is a challenging time of day and going with the flow can work wonders. Acceptance lowers expectations and might help you find your way out of this funk after all.

How does your family combat the witching hour?

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