Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Works-for-me-Wednesday: Backwards Edition


I know I'm really late to be joining the WFMW party today, but it's a Backwards Edition where we get to pose a problem and all of you get to provide the solution: And I have a problem that could use all of your noodles to solve.

I fondly call the hours between 4-6:00 p.m. the witching hours. These two hours are always when my kids are at their worst and when I have the most to do. As I'm trying to get dinner, help with homework, and get ready for any evening activities the kids are fighting, bickering, crying, and whining. Basically, they are coming unglued and taking me with them. By the time my husband gets home and we sit down to dinner I'm ready to kill all of them which always makes dinner fun.

They are ages 8, 5 and 2. I'm open to any and all suggestions. The solution that has worked the best so far is to park them in front of the TV for two hours...so I guess that really isn't a solution.

Help!

For more Backwards fun, head over to Rocks in my Dryer.

11 comments:

Kim said...

I suggest assigning this time as quiet play time or something liek that - leave the homework until you have more time after dinner - tell them at 4pm they are to pick or assign them a few activities - colouring, doing puzzles, playing with dolls/cars. Give the 8 yr old a timer and ask her/him to monitor the smaller ones while you fix dinner.

Set timer for 30 mins - each does a different activity for that amount of time - when timer goes off they switch - you can even incorporate a clean-up time - make it a game and they will enjoy it more and maybe stay out of your hair for longer - and if all else fails - an hour in front of the tv never killed anyone - just save it for that time when you need the break.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

I dunno Natalie...I really think the Witching Hour is why God gave us TV! I don't know what I would do without Charlie & Lola every night about 5pm. They are honorary members of our family.

My advice is to not feel guilty about it!

The Correspondent said...

Those seem to be difficult hours for everyone, I think. I've heard them called "Acid Hours."

It might help to give them a light snack at 4 p.m. -- Apple slices or jello or banana or pb & graham crackers or something like that. Low blood sugar could be part of the problem.

Mine love to go outside to play. If you have a fenced yard and swings or a fort or backyard toys, a little exercise might help burn off some energy.

Maybe the 8yo could read to the other two from some really great picture books ... ?

I sometimes resort to videos, but we try all those other options first.

Kristen said...

Try to do prep work for dinner earlier in the day so that you have more free time with the kids during those hours.

Keep them busy by involving them in dinner...setting the table, helping to cook, etc.

Melissa said...

I have to agree with the TV idea. I'm just not sure how I would get dinner made and keep any form of a peaceful environment for #1 to do her homework if the other 2 weren't watching Maya and Miguel and then Fetch (no guilt, my friend!). Sometimes, they'll play on the computer, too. The idea is to find something they can do without your assistance. My challenge is that they want #1 to play with them and she just can't. So, I will also let them "help" me make dinner (salad is always a good choice) and set the table to keep them occupied. When they really work on my nerves I make an obstacle course through my whole upstairs and they must run through it 20 times before they are allowed to watch anymore TV! By the time they get finished, they watch 5 minutes of TV and then it is time to eat!

Lene said...

I don't have a child in school yet so I do not have to deal with homework issues. However, our best supper hours are the ones where I let my oldest take a long bath and play in the tub WHILE I am cooking. The baby is then usually content to be nearby playing with a toy she hasn't seen for a while. My oldest loves the extra time for play - sometimes I let her have bubbles for extra fun. I also agree with the idea of a snack. (Please note - my oldest is old enough to be in the tub without me actually right there in the room with her - I do crack the door so I can hear her.)

Andi said...

My son watches a little TV while I make dinner too. Or he plays in the water in the kitchen sink with little buckets & spoons. He loves it.

Six in the Mix said...

Start daily room time for 30 minutes. Increase it to 45 min. then an hour. That takes care of half your time and lets you get dinner on the table.

Beth said...

Every afternoon at 3:30 we go to a neighbor's house or they come to ours. The kids play, we chat and we usually have our crock pots going so that dinner is already taken care of.

Two of her kids are in school (mine aren't yet) and she requires that they do their homework immediately upon getting home. That way it's done before the evil hour hits!

And when all else fails, send the kids to their rooms to chill out.

Lora Lynn said...

For your younger children, maybe you should consider something like http://www.activitybags.com/

I coordinated a bag swap, but it would be worth it to put some of these together on your own. I've found that a five year old would be entertained by many of the activities. And they could help your two year old. They would look forward to the time when they could do "bags" and you would have a moment's peace. Well worth the effort.

CampHillGirl said...

This used to be my horrible time, too, until we moved, and we just added the neighbor kids to the mix, making most everyone pretty happy--I'm still slightly crazy from a zillion kids ripping around creating havoc.

I used to allow half an hour of alone time for my oldest kids to snack and unwind--they seemed to need some transition time and didn't want to be bugged by the little ones. Then, after half an hour, everyone had to let everyone play. Going outside did make things easier, but I think we just pushed through when it was colder and hoped it would get easier.