Anyone who has been a parent for a month knows that the hardest time of day is somewhere from late afternoon until your baby goes to sleep. When your baby is really small, we generally call it a ‘fussy’ time, but as the kids get older, it becomes the witching hour. I don’t know why it’s called ‘hour’ because it actually lasts at least three.
When I had a two-year-old and a newborn there were some nights when I seriously wanted to lock myself in a closet, it sucked so badly. Fortunately, I got a lot of great advice from experienced parents on surviving this tumultuous time. I’ve compiled a list of tools to help those of us who feel like they are at the end of their rope at the end of the day. Trust me, I’ve been there more times than I can count. If you have some additional tips, please leave them in the comments for the rest of us!!
Park it! 1 of 9Have you ever been to a park at 4pm? Everyone and their mother (and father) is there. All these people have the right idea.Wear those kids out! Stay till it's practically dark if you have to!
Schedules! 2 of 9Make up a schedule from late afternoon until bedtime and try to stick to it. Be mindful of transitions, though. Toddlers and transitions can be rough (like you don't already know this).
Prepare! 3 of 9If you have any time at all during the day, prep dinner as much as possible. I've noticed the more time I can focus on the kids during this crucial window, the fewer tantrums I have to endure.
Pasta! 4 of 9When in doubt, cook the easiest thing you can possibly make that doesn't require a drive-thru. Pasta is served several times a week in my house.
Pizza 5 of 9When pasta fails, keep the number to your favorite pizza joint on speed dial.
Friends! 6 of 9At least once a week, try to plan dinner with friends that have kids. Trade off who cooks or do a pot luck. It takes SOOOOO much of the pressure off of you, and the distraction is great for the kids. Bonus:You get a playdate too. Drink a beer!!
Mantras! 7 of 9When you feel like you're about to die: Chant. Serenity prayer, This Too Shall Pass, Om Shanti, whatever works.
Judgement Calls! 8 of 9Have the foresight to recognize when things are going south and fast. Put kids to bed earlier. It'll ultimately be easier for you than fighting with a shrieker. If your toddler loves the bath, put them in the bath earlier than normal, pruned toddler is much better than screaming toddler. If your kid is melting down and hates the bath, skip it. A quick wipe down, pj's and bed. Be done with it, there's always tomorrow.
Television! 9 of 9The electronic babysitter can be a very useful tool when you are at your wit's end. A DVD has saved me more than once.
Television: Flickr/daily invention
Pasta: Flickr/Pink Sherbert
Swingset: Flickr: cathyse97
Gavel: Flickr/David Michael Morris
Buddha: Flickr/Vincent Van der pas
Got a mess on your hands? Incorporate toddler living with your daily cleaning routines!