Do your kids get cranky in the late afternoon? Does it seem like the time between getting home from school and eating supper is always crazy? Learn how to survive the witching hour and keep your kids calm with these practical tips.
Starbucks sent me some coffee for this post.
In spite of regular doses of drama and chaos, there are plenty of things in my home that are predictable. No matter what I do, they sneak in. Allergies when the weather changes. A growth spurt every time I buy a child some new pants. A giant zit when I’m planning to be in a photo.
Every day, I pick my kids up from school at 3:00. Sometimes they are tired and cranky, sometimes excited about a good day. No matter the mood, when we get home, the witching hour begins.
The witching hour is that window between getting home from school and eating dinner. Everyone is cranky and things tend to just go wrong. I suspect that it has something to do with putting four people who are very different in a single small room. Everyone in my family has different needs in the witching hour, and when those needs clash we all get irritated. Hubby needs to unwind alone after a long day at work. My son needs to wiggle after sitting still for hours. My daughter needs to talk after being (mostly) quiet and listening.
Me? I just need everything to keep running smoothly.
Maybe you can relate. The witching hour is predictable. It happens every day. I have found a few things that help us all survive, though.
Witching hour survival tips
1. Feed the kids a snack.
Hungry kids can be scary if you know what I mean.
The first think we do after dropping all the backpacks and things by the door is sit down and have a snack. I try to plan easy things that are more or less instant, like fresh fruit, granola, or homemade muffins. I’ve made a list of after school snack choices and I try to include several options on my weekly shopping list for variety.
The trick is to feed them something that is filling and provides energy to sit and focus on homework.
2. Drink some coffee.
A small mug of coffee is the perfect pick-me-up for adults. It gives me a burst of energy and helps me focus on my not-yet-done list. I used to avoid drinking coffee in the afternoon because I was afraid it would keep me up all night. I think the trick is simply don’t drink an entire pot of coffee in the afternoon, but use your own judgment whether you can drink coffee later in the day.
What I’ve been doing lately has worked great. I make a pot of Starbucks coffee in the morning to start my day. Usually, I end up with about a cup leftover. I just pour it in my mug and stick it in the refrigerator. When 3:00 rolls around, I just pull it out and add a few things for a cool burst of energy. I usually add a splash of milk and sugar, sometimes a few ice cubes. On days when I need something hot, I just zap it in the microwave.
3. Meet each individual’s needs.
Every kid has special needs.
When I give them my attention and take care of those needs, they are better equipped to settle down and do homework. Some kids need to jump right into homework while school is still fresh on their minds. Others do better when given the chance to run and play for a while. The trick is to watch your child and see what works best.
4. Give everyone some space.
Once we have had a snack and spent some time talking, everyone goes their separate ways to start the next project. The kids have a big desk in the living room / office, but if they are sitting close together, they bug each other. One kid sits at the desk, the other at the dining table. Every other day they switch. I stay close by so I can get things done, but keep the kids on task without hovering.
Starbucks Fall Blend
Right now I’m drinking Starbucks Fall Blend coffee. The new Starbucks Fall Blend is on shelves now. It is really different from the light, warm weather coffee I have been drinking. It just tastes like, well, fall. It is robust and spicy and full. It is the perfect drink to keep you going through the witching hour. With a warm mug of coffee and a granola bar, I can tackle homework, laundry, and whatever else comes my way.
The fall blend is made with a blend of beans from Sumatra, Kenya, and Peru. It’s the perfect drink to get you in the mood for fall, pumpkins, and comfort foods. You can find it at major grocery stores for $8.99 per 10 oz. package. It is also available on Amazon.com in the regular ground coffee bag and in K-cups.
I’m looking forward to all the pumpkin spice flavored goodies that will go nicely with this coffee. How do you keep everything running smoothly during the witching hour?