Surviving the “Witching Hour” as a Single Parent (and a Dinnertime Distractions printable, too)

The following is by contributor Jaimie of Two Chicks and a Hen.

Our March theme, “Routine and Rhythm,” is something I think about often.  For single parents, it’s especially important to plan ahead for the difficult times.   With some thought and effort, we can create consistent, positive rituals to help us through the tough periods.

The witching hour, that period between afternoon snack and dinnertime, is challenging for most parents. As a single or sometimes-single parent, you cannot let the witching hour burn you out.  Your day is still long from over, and there’s no one coming home to take over the reins or even to field your complaints. There’s still cleaning, the bedtime routine, and, for many of us, paid work that we accomplish after the kids are asleep. We can’t allow ourselves to run out of steam by the time dinner is on the table.

Managing the Pre-Dinner Hour

Whether you’ve just walked in from work or you’ve been home all day, and whether your kids have been with you for a week or have just returned from their other parent’s house (perhaps especially in this case), this time of day has the potential for chaos.   Thankfully, since the witching hour is a daily occurrence, we have the luxury of planning for it.

If you’re having trouble managing the pre-dinner hour, try some of the following ideas:

1. Take five or ten minutes to center yourself before the witching hour begins.

This is something I’ve just started to do recently, and I’ve been amazed at how helpful it is. This ritual will differ from person to person, but you might spend five or ten minutes meditating, doing yoga, knitting, or having a cup of tea. Give yourself a moment to breathe, focus on your intentions for the next several hours, and start over from scratch, putting behind you whatever challenges you’ve already met during the previous ten to twelve hours.

2. Involve the kids in dinner prep if they’re interested.

Kids love to cook, and having them help you is a great way to pull them into your realm during this challenging period. It also gives you the opportunity to casually chat, something especially important if you’ve been separated from them for any period of time. If you’ve never involved your kids in cooking before, you might find that it prolongs the cooking time a little bit at first. After a very short time, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised to see that once your children master a few basic cooking prep tasks, their help truly does make a contribution.

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Rhythm and Routines: the Flow of the Day

The following was written by editor Kara Fleck.

This month at Simple Kids we’re talking about rhythms and routines for life with children.  The contributors and I have been working on writing about a variety of aspects of daily life from a range of perspectives and circumstances.  Our hope is that you will find these posts helpful as  you craft you own family’s routines.

Rhythm vs. Routine

Some of us are “by the clock” people.  Some of us are not.  For some a detailed schedule or structured routine, where events occur at the same time every day, works well for their family and for others a less detailed order of events is a better fit.

I tend to fall into the second category myself and prefer to think of our days as having a “rhythm” rather than a “routine” because, to me, that term seems gentler and more flexible.   So, “rhythm” is the term you will see me use the most often.

But, really, what you call it  – rhythm or routine – doesn’t matter. Because no one family will exactly mirror another family, there aren’t “one size fits all” parameters.  In other words, there is no “right” or “wrong” – only what works for your family in this season of your life.

The Anchors of the Day

If you’re just getting started establishing a rhythm for your family, or perhaps if you are re-evaluating your days as you enter a new circumstance, my advice is to focus on what I call the anchors of the day.

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Weekend Links and Action Pack Winners

Action Pack Giveaway Winners

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for the Action Pack printable mini-mag for kids from Whip Up.

The winners are:

1. Heather – HeatherPolson@___  “Playing with beeswax – it smells so lovely and it’s so versatile.”

2. Kristen – theways@___ “I think my daughter would head straight for the lip balm!!!”

3. Sarah – Sarah@___ “Origami boats…..they look cute! Not sure where to find beeswax, but I would have to go on a hunt!”

4. Jessica – dragonfly444@___ “I would love to make the origami boats! What a great idea! Thanks!”

5. Hannah – lrxtyler@___ “We would do the science first, then head to the origami boat!”


(Winners, be watching your email for further details)

If you didn’t win and would still like to get your hands on a copy of Action Pack, you can purchase a copy for $5 at the Whip Up Shop.  Thank you to everyone who entered!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful Sunday!

From Whip Up: Action Pack – A Kids Mini-Mag (and a giveaway, too!)

Jillian, my nine year old, and I have been having the best time together lately.  We’ve been creating origami boats, baking honey and cinnamon cake, drawing bees, and gathering the supplies for future adventures in lip balm and hand lotion making.

(This giveaway is now closed.  Winners will be announced in Sunday’s Link Love post.)

Wow!  Where is all this creative inspiration coming from, you ask?  From the March Action Pack – a new kids mini-magazine from Kathreen Ricketson of the popular blog Whip Up. I jumped at the chance for a review copy of this project because I knew it would be terrific.

Intended for boys and girls ages 7 and up “who want to do stuff” Action Pack is 20 plus pages jam packed with detailed instructions, charming photographs, cute illustrations, and idea after fun idea.  The March issue revolves around the themes of paper and beeswax.

From the magazine:

Action Pack is … “Science experiments that you can actually use, easy delicious recipes, simple craft projects that require minimal adult supervision, and outdoor activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family.”

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A Simple Tooth Brushing Routine for Kids

The following is by contributor Vanessa Brown of I Never Grew Up.

Understanding a bit about kid’s dental hygiene and establishing a good routine with your kids and teeth brushing really is setting yourself up for success.

From a Children’s Dentist Perspective

Recently I interviewed Dr. David M. Stewart of Little People’s Dental in South Jordan, Utah on establishing a good tooth brushing routine and here is what I learned:

  • Studies tell us that brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste can decrease the risk of tooth decay. Flossing daily can decrease the risk of periodontal disease and dental decay in between teeth.
  • Children do not have the dexterity to brush and floss well until around seven to nine years of age. At least once a day a parent should lay a child back and brush and floss their teeth as perfectly as they can, and then allow the child to brush at least one other time of the day.
  • For a more detailed how to and video on this you can watch Dr. Stewart go over the routine here:
  • Until the child is older the parent should “dose” the toothpaste for the child. A rice grain amount until they are six years of age and a small pea sized amount of toothpaste after that.

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