Friday, June 7, 2013

Avoiding the 5 O'Clock Crazy

My house is crazy at night.  After 3 in the afternoons the kids lose their minds.  I have often wondered about the cause.  I have relative calm during the day and my husband doesn't see that part.  He only sees the crazy.  In an effort to make things a bit more calm and peaceful I have tried to take a good hard look at how we are spending our evenings.  What I discovered surprised me.  During the day we have structure and routine, at night, there is none.  OK, so now I feel sure I know what the problem is.  I am expecting far too much from my children and husband.  I need to either lower my expectations or form a better routine for the kids so they can have the tools they need to meet them.

The Plan: Avoid this.

This is the plan for the 2 –8 pm hours.
When the weather cooperates, I am going to make outside time from 3-4.  That way they can run around to their hearts' content.  When Daddy comes home, it varies greatly in the summer, but during the winter it is around 4, and the kids are all eager to see him, so they will come inside for a bit, but I am betting that they go back out.  I need for them to be occupied while Gary and I talk about his day.  He needs that down time with me.  So if they don’t go back outside, I think I may let them play Webkinz or Animal Jam on my computer for a little bit, I hardly ever let them and that always keeps them busy.  That way I can have the time with my dh, without the distraction of my computer LOL.  When I sit, the laptop is the first thing I want to pick up.

The Plan: Really avoid this

 Then we have the cooking supper hour.  I know what people say, “Let the kids help you.”  I say, “Come get them and let them help YOU.”  I am a realist.  While I can get some lofty ideas in my head, I know that will not work long term for me, not everyday anyway.  I need to not have the kids underfoot during the  ‘crabby hour’ (I will not say if it is me or them) while making the biggest meal of the day.  So, I need something to keep them occupied from 4 or so to 5:30 pm while I am cooking.  I am thinking realistically here so I know that asking Gary to entertain them might work for a little bit but would not be a long term solution. He is not always home and if he is, he very well may be working on something else for work.

The Plan: Avoid this.

Here are some of my ideas to keep the kids occupied:
  • Put Quin and Beks in the bathtub and Micah in the shower. Jaela can wash Beks hair during this time. 
  • Have them go play in their room for a little bit.
  • Have them go back outside.
  • Allow them to take part in supper prep. As they are getting older, this has become more and more of a good solid option. It was not so when they were 2, 4, 5, and 9. :)
  • Let them hook up the game cube or Nintendo Wii
  • Break out the play dough or art supplies. They have really started to like scrapbooking, so that is an option as well. 
So that is what I have come up with so far.  I can’t just pick one thing and repeat it everyday.  I need this to be very flexible.  So, I am glad for this list.  Now here is my plan for after supper:
  • Clean up after supper - Everyone participates in this, even my 5 year old.
  • Baths for everyone - if they did not get one before dinner.
  • Final chores for the evening 
  • Storytime (I know I should read to them! But this may look like them listening to an audio book)
  • Bed time - that comes at 8:30 or 9 here.  

I think this will work!  I really want my home to be more peaceful and less chaotic.  I feel so much stress at night, I don’t want to cook, clean, or care for anyone!  Our lack of structure at night surely plays a part in this.  Hopefully, as I am now more aware of the problem, we can make our nights pleasant!

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