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.
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.
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.