A Challenge for our Family

Since Landon and Brooks started school full time this month, Dean and I have noticed some changes in our kids.  Our witching hours have gotten “witchier”.  My thought is that our kids are having a hard time – Brooks especially – adjusting to being at school all day, five days a week.  Previously, they were only in school 3 days a week and then 2 days a week at home with the nanny and their cousins.  I think the adjustment to stimulation and busyness 5 days a week has been really hard. Plus Brooks moved up to a new class earlier this month and I’m sure that is another adjustment for him.

I’ve been thinking about how we can try to help our boys get through this time and make our evenings a more enjoyable time for everyone.  Here are the things we are implementing and testing for the next two weeks:

1.  Only Elevation Worship music to and from school. Dean regularly has on talk radio but for the next few weeks we are going to try just Elevation music.  There is something about it that really calms my kids. If they are bouncing off the walls in the car or acting crazy, I’ll often switch the radio to an Elevation CD and almost 100% of the time they calm down and just jam out to the songs they know so well.  It’s like Pavlov’s Dog… turn on Elevation – kids calm down.

2. Strict bedtime between 7:30-8.  Sometimes things stretch into a little later bedtime for the kids, and they go down closer to 8:30 but lately they’ve been waking up earlier so to counteract that, we are going to get in bed a little earlier for the next few weeks.

3. No TV on after school and instead have quiet time.  My husband loves to turn the news on the minute he gets home from work. It’s his thing. I think it was his dad’s thing growing up and he’s continuing the tradition.  I’ve proposed that we don’t turn on any TV after school (and it’s not that the kids even watch, but it’s a lot of background noise and stimulation). Instead for the next few weeks, the after school the kids each have quiet time in the room with a book or two while we work on dinner.  I want them to have a peaceful environment that takes them down a notch and also keeps them from the whining and crazies that tend to start at dinnertime.

4. Get home earlier.  When work gets busier for me, I find myself staying at work trying to get “just one more thing done” before I leave.  I realize that sometimes there are things that need to get finished urgently, but most of the time, I’m just trying to get my inbox completely cleared so that I have a fresh start in the morning.  I have that personality where if I can just get it done, I stay and get it done.  But I figure if I left work even 15 mins earlier 4 days a week that is an extra hour with my kids each week and an extra 50+ hours with my kids a year.  That’s a lot of extra face-time for kids who only get to see mom for a few hours during the weekdays.  And as much as I love doing my job and getting it done well, I really love seeing my kids faces at night when I get home.  Also when I make getting home earlier a priority, it makes things easier on my marriage.  My husband gets really frustrated when I come home 45 mins or an hour after him all week and he’s stuck to fend for himself with two whiney, crazy kids while trying to get dinner on the table and decompress himself.

5. Keep our bedtime routine.  I think that keeping our bedtime routine in order will continue to help.  We always do things a certain way at bedtime and keeping it relatively consistent is a good thing for our kids. That means no surprises for them – showertime, pj’s, brush teeth and then bible story or something else together while we snuggle and do our family prayer time.  We do a pretty good job of keeping this really consistent and we want to keep this routine in place as we try some new things to see if it helps get our evenings back on track.

Any other parents struggle with the witching hour and have success by trying something new? Please share your secrets with me!

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