New, stay at home moms or dads will find that late afternoon until children's bedtime will be the most challenging hours of the day.
These hours are often packed with routines (meal, bath, and bed) at a time when children are either tired or wired. Throw in an exhausted parent and you have a potential brew of exasperation.
To avoid ending every day at the end of your rope, do what you can to make this time period run as smoothly as possible.
- Drop everything! Know that this is a tough time and prepare - don't take phone calls, plan to be home, try to plan ahead.
- Have as much meal planning and preparation done in advance as possible. Make supper whenever you can get the time during the day or frozen on the weekends, and heat it up as needed at meal time. Crock pots are ideal!
- If you are making dinner, allow the kids to "help" if possible. Giving them small things to do both keeps them busy and may entice them to eat what "they've" made.
- Stick to a schedule, and try to get everyone fed early if you can.
- Play soothing music (good for you, too)
- Have a grab bag of activities that only comes out during this time, so the activities will be more exciting.
- Loosen your grip on getting tasks done and spend time with the kids. Things will get done!
- Some of what makes this so tough is that we are trying to do everything! With patience waning and fatigue increasing, it is the worst time to tackle the chores that await us.
- Establish a routine that works for everyone...this too shall pass!