Want to avoid the mood-crashing, whining, meltdown-charged late afternoon drama? These afternoon routines and early evening routines will help.
The afternoon is when all happy dreams of motherhood go to die.
You’re tired. And you may or may not be having a hormone energy crash.
Kids are either:
- waking up from a nap (possibly waking up crying)
- coming in with after school attitude
- feeling irritable
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Mama’s irritable too, but you can’t show it
This is the perfect time for some rock-solid, predictable afternoon and early evening routines. You reserve some stuff specifically for this time.
You don’t waste those precious screen time minutes in the morning when the kids are in a good mood. I’m going to share some ideas and inspiration for you to put into a good afternoon routine for your kids.
This works for toddlers up through middle aged kids. Because it’s a framework for you to jump off from.
Activities To Add To Your Child’s Afternoon Routine
Don’t stuff your routine full of these activities, but choose which ones make sense and go from there.
Remember, the routine has to fit with YOUR personality.
Quiet / Rest Time
I don’t care what age your child is, if they’ve stopped napping… put in some quiet time.
Have your child spend some time in quiet activities such as reading a book, doing a puzzle, or drawing. They could play quietly doing arts and crafts, building LEGO, making a creation, or anything quiet and focused.
Tips to make rest time a success.
- Alone, if possible. If kids share a room, separate them or stagger times.
- No screens, for a variety of reasons. Screen time is DIFFERENT from quiet time.
- Aim for an hour or so, give or take.
- Institute a clean-up before you can come out rule. It’s an excellent tidy routine.
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Personally, I don’t think screen time should ever be in the morning.
Mornings bring higher energy levels, more creativity, and everyone has a higher frustration tolerance. Mom included.
Afternoons are a different story.
Use screen time strategically as more of a “babysitter” than a distraction for your kids.
- Kids don’t determine when screen time starts and stops, mom does.
- Screens are the first thing to go when kids have not been cooperative.
- You choose what kids are allowed to watch.
- Create a rule that says if they pitch a fit when screen time is over, then it’s removed the next day.
Afternoon and early evening, when people aren’t in their best moods, may not seem like the best time to do chores, but sometimes it is.
It can be a good reset to get everyone focused on something else.
You may want some chores to be completed before screens, outdoor play, etc.
- Create clear expectations on what chores might be done.
- Nothing too long or strenous after a long day.
- Make sure the kids know exactly how to do the chores you require of them.
- Always inspect what you expect.
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I think having your kids play outside is the absolute best thing they can do in the afternoons. For a whole lot of reasons, but here are a few. As well as a few tips to make outdoor play work for you.
- gets energy out
- good for development
- outdoors bring stress relief
- weather doesn’t matter
- set up your outdoor area for success (climbing toys or outdoor things that make play fun)
- you getting outdoors will help with Vitamin D and stress relief as well
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Goes without saying that kids wanna snack.
All day every day.
I want to encourage you to make a routine out of snack time. One thing that has worked for us personally (since kids were toddlers) was to have a certain time that snack happened.
It may vary depending on whether you have nappers, for example, but we aim for 3:30pm as snack time if we’re home all afternoon. This way kids aren’t all asking 24/7. And, if you have multiple kids, you don’t feel like you’re Snack Police all afternoon since each kid is asking at different times.
3:30 p.m. Kitchen Opens.
Help Do Dinner Prep
One thing that you can do to get kids helping you out and occupied – without trashing the house – is to get them in the kitchen to help you cook.
I like to do this with 1 child per time. Max 2.
- Setting the table
- Clearing off counters
- Filling water glasses or water pitcher
- mixing ingredients / stirring / measuring
- loading / unloading dishwasher
In short, be purposeful about your afternoon routine.
Think through the hard parts of the aftenroon or early evening and don’t just ride the wave of chaos.
Think ahead of time. Be proactive, not reactive.
Get outside if possible.