You know that time of day when…
It’s after 5 o’clock and you’ve had a particularly long and trying day at work, sat in traffic for hours, and now you’re entering the house with groceries, bags and kids?
The dog is probably barking up a storm from being inside all day and you need to cook dinner.
In folklore, the witching hour is thought to be that period late at night when all the evil creatures like demons and witches come out to play. That period of time is associated with bad luck or unfortunate events.
In modern day, it’s called the parent’s witching hour because it’s that period of time in the evening when everything seems to be going wrong and time is against you.
Yes, the dreaded “witching hour”. You know exactly what I’m talking about.
The kids are crying, the dog wants to go out for a walk, and that darn dinner still hasn’t been started yet.
We’ve all been there and It’s absolutely awful! The witching hour is a time of day that has plagued parents all over the world.
But luckily it doesn’t have to be so terrible and here are some useful tips for conquering that dreaded time of day.
Get to Know Your Kids
The first step is understand that your babies and toddlers are human just as you are. You’ve had a long hard tiring day at work, but they’ve also probably had a long day at daycare or school, interacting with other people who aren’t you. The first thing they want when they get home is to be with you.
This is the key to conquering that dreadful time of the day. Instead of rushing to get things prepared. Sit with your kids.
Forget about the dinner and the ten million things which need to get done.
At least just for a minute.
Instead, take the first few minutes of your day once you’ve gotten home, to ask them about theirs.
Ask them how they spent the day, what fun activities did they do?
Engage them, and allow them to engage you. This sets up the tone for the rest of the evening. Give them a hug and a kiss and let them know that you are present.
Give a Snack
Part of setting the tone and crushing the witching hour, is making sure that your kids are settled and in their happy space.
Help them take their shoes off, and “de-robe” from the day. Put on their favorite shirt, or hat, and just allow them to hang out.
Give them their favorite toy or game, and allow them to have a snack.
This not only occupies them but allows them to settle down which in turn, will settle you down as well.
I know, I know! You’ve just gotten home. But if you have pets, they aren’t going to take care of themselves.
The dog still wants that walk outside.
Make it a group activity. Kids need the fresh air, and being outside is visually appealing to them as well.
Enjoy the walk and make it fun, ask them questions and feel confident in the fact that you’re knocking out two tasks at once – engaging with your children and walking the dog 😊
Prep on Another Day
If you’re running to the grocery store after work with the kids, then running home to prep dinner, cook dinner, have dinner, clean up after dinner, and get the kids in bed and not be totally exhausted after doing it all – I have news for you.
You won’t conquer the witching hour. EVER.
Everything doesn’t have to get done in one day.
A great trick is prepping food on a different day than the day you plan to cook it.
Chop veggies and meal items and store them in freezer containers. That way you save time on chopping and cutting when it’s time to actually cook the meal.
Make your kids part of the prep work. Have them name you each vegetable or seasoning you’re working with.
Engage them on its color, shape, size, smell and what’s unique about it. Make it fun!
Put the baby’s high chair in the kitchen, and make him or her part of it all. Sing funny songs and play funny games with the veggies.
Likewise, rather than doing the grocery shopping on the same day as meal prepping and cooking, set aside another time to get it done and capitalize on the amount of time available for cooking your meals.
Grocery shop during non peak hours like early in the morning before 8am or late in the evening when the kids are in bed and someone is available to supervise.
Do Small Things to Make Time for Big Ones
When it comes to meals, do what you can when you have small pockets of time. Chicken marinades can be made in 5 – 10 minutes and stored in the fridge.
Make a quick dinner salad in the morning before going to work and place it in the fridge.
Peel potatoes and refrigerate them. Pre-fill pots and pans and place them on the stove.
Pre-fill the rice cooker with the rice. Pre-set the dinner table and lay out utensils in advance.
Anything you can do to save a few minutes. Reserve prep chores that involves cooking, for your small pockets of time, and store them for later.
You’ll be amazed at how much time you can save by not having to do the smaller chores when the bewitching hours rolls around.
Love The Leftovers
One of my biggest joys is being able to play with my kids after work. It you’re a working mommy, one great way to ensure that you have tons of time to do so, is by not having to cook every single day.
Cook larger meals that can extend into 2 – 3 days, and this will save you a lot of time rather than having to cook dinner every evening.
One great trick is to cook two types of proteins and two types of sides in one cooking session.
This allows you to switch up the meals and creates variety on the days your family has to eat leftovers.
For instance, let’s say you make Vegetable Rice, and a large Salad as your two sides. If you were to make Honey Roasted Chicken and Pork Chops as your two main proteins, here are four nights work of combinations:
Night 1: Honey Roasted Chicken with Salad
Night 2: Pork Chops with Vegetable Rice
Night 3: Honey Roasted Chicken with Vegetable Rice
Night 4: Pork Chops with Salad
Being able to intertwine large meals is a great way to save some extra time and beat that witching hour!
Tidy Up Daily
Make clean up time a family affair and this will help lighten the chore load for the next day and likewise decrease the stress of the witching hour.
Download a clean up song, and play it while the baby and younger kids all pitch in to clean up.
Put things in order every evening and ensure everything has a place.
Loading the dishwasher right after dinner, or washing the dishes as soon as you use them, helps in ensuring that there’s no mess left over into the next day.
Don’t allow the betwithching hour to get you. Use these tips to conquer it first!
Get the kids settled by spending quality time with them above all else.
The meal will get prepared, the housework will get done, put them first and I guarantee you’ll see a difference in the way in which the witching hour flows.
Have you tried any of these tips? What has been the outcome? Tell me all about it in the comments below.
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