Last time, Dr. G answered the question: Why are children so well-behaved at school but when they come home, they become little terrors?
Q: So how can parents help kids through the evening rush, or the so-called “witching hour”?
A: Routine, consistency and a sense of humor.
I am absolutely convinced that THIS is why cocktails are served starting at 5pm. Children the world over completely lose their minds just when it is time to get dinner on the table, help with the hardest part of homework, straighten up and get out the door to an evening activity.
First of all, FEED your kids. It is hard to put a snack and dinner on the table, both for practical and emotional reasons. One way to get around this is by making the dinner vegetable first and putting it on the table with small cocktail napkins or plates as an appetizer. You don’t feel like you cooked twice, and you don’t mind them ruining their appetite with vegetables – as a matter of fact, that will make you feel like a rockstar parent! If they are hungry it is there, if not you can invite them to stop bugging you about food!
Second of all, make your expectations clear. Make a plan for yourself and maybe post a list on the fridge about who is going to help in what way each night. Tuesday night: Joey has soccer so he needs to do his homework right after school. Lia helps set the table and Marco plays with the baby while mom cooks. Wed night different schedule so different responsibilities? Whatever works for you. Just plan it out and be consistent. And then, on the nights it all falls apart, try to find a reason to laugh!
What works in your house? Please share your tips in the comments!
Dr. Deborah Gilboa is a Board Certified family physician, mother of four, and a professional parenting writer and speaker (for parents, community & business). Her signature individualized workshop, “How to Get the Behavior You Want, Without Being the Parent You Hate” captivates parents through her humorous straight talk, which lifts the guilt out of parenting. Her mission is to help parents raise children they can respect and admire. Visit her website.