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10 Ways to Survive Your Child's Witching Hour

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It's the end of the day and everyone is losing it, mom included! As families try to unwind from busy, stressful days, tempers are short, kids are crabby, and moms everywhere--both SAHM and working outside the home--are trying to get dinner ready while keeping kids in line and their needs met. We compiled these tips with the hopes of making your family's witching hour even just a tad better. Hang in there, mamas, there's light at the end of the tunnel (it's called bedtime!)!

1. Plan Ahead

a beef stew

The more relaxed and available you are for your kids during this time, the better. Anything you can do to have dinner prepped and ready to go is a plus. Think frozen or slow-cooker meals or healthy take-out. The occasional dinner of cereal, fruit, and toast is completely acceptable, if it means sanity saved!

2. Get Outside

mom and her baby taking a walk

A dose of nature offers a soothing break from our hyper stimulated lives. Step outside with the crying baby, and take the toddler on a walk around the block before heading inside to conquer the evening routine. Gaze up at the lovely evening sky or admire the leaves of the trees, and reset.

3. Slow Down to Switch Roles

a woman stretching while sitting in front of her laptop

Take a breather to swap your professional personality for mom mode. Aim for 10-15 minutes to decompress before picking up the baby at daycare or walking into the house to relieve the babysitter. Do something that you find relaxing: maybe reading a novel in your car, calling a friend, or just resting with your eyes closed on your bus commute.

4. Accept the Fussiness

a mom talking to her baby

If you have a newborn, accept that she's probably going to fuss from early evening until bedtime. Other than feeding on demand and making sure she's in a clean diaper, there might not be much you can do to comfort her. It's admittedly agony to have a screaming baby be the soundtrack to your evening. Just remember, this time won't last forever—she'll learn to self-soothe and also develop past the fussy "fourth trimester."

5. Serve a Healthy Snack

a young woman eating a carrot

Your kids' empty stomachs are a big factor in their crabby, whiny moods. Intercept their extreme hunger by serving up a small, healthy snack prior to mealtime. Think raw veggies, apple slices, a couple of crackers and a piece of cheese—even something from that evening's dinner.

6. Focus On Your Kids, Not Chores

a mom posing with her daughter

It's tempting to want to conquer the clutter or sort the mail the moment you get home. But your kids need a dose of mom. Change into a comfy outfit and focus on their needs, not what needs to get done around the house.

7. Minimize Multitasking

a mom cooking while greeting her daughter

Is it even possible for a mom not to multitask? We're not sure either, but we do know that trying to do too much at once makes mamas feel more crazed than if they'd just tackled one thing (ok, maybe two). So prioritize what actually needs to get done now and focus on getting that moving along while still caring for your kids.

8. Take a Break

a woman walking home from work

After a long day, you need a moment to yourself to gear up for what's to come. If you're a working mom, swap "me" moments and childcare duties with your partner. Stay at home moms should step away for a few minutes as soon as their partner is home and is ready to take over for her.

9. Create a Calm Atmosphere

a dad helping his daughter with an art project

Soothing music, dimmed lights, and low-key activities can help everyone settle down. Create a calm environment by turning on some classical music and engaging your little one in a simple activity like coloring or paging through picture books.

10. Know that You're Not Alone

a mom making a snack with her daughter

Every family struggles with this stressful time—even that mom you see at the park who seems to have everything together deals with late-afternoon tantrums and pre-dinner disasters. So if things are a bit chaotic and crazy at your house during the witching hour, take heart. Then pour yourself a glass of wine or a fizzy fruit seltzer, take a deep breath, and exhale: this too shall pass.

 
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