It's blissfully quiet. You can hear the birds chirping and the wind blowing through the trees. Everything is peaceful.
And then, shattering all that lovely silence, comes a wail. A cry you can hear even from outside your house. Welcome to 'witching hour'!
WHAT IS 'WITCHING HOUR'?
According to child psychologists, the witching hour (also called 'colic' or 'arsenic hour') is a common phenomenon with young children, usually occurs between 4 and 10 p.m., and is not always limited to just one hour. Characterized by fidgeting, restlessness, and an overall difficulty to please, this part of the day can be incredibly stressful for both parents and kids.
Fun fact! The witching hour can affect every member of your household, not just your little ones (near the end of the day, everyone's energy is a little low)!
WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?
There are a couple of theories to explain the 'witching hour':
- Overstimulation: After a whole day of stimulation and by the time evening rolls around, young children often feel overwhelmed, tired, and unsettled by the sensory overload. A common outlet for them is to let out some grumpy feelings.
- Excess Energy: Another theory is that kids have too much energy built up and they are antsy for ways to let off some steam.
DEALING WITH THE WITCHING HOUR
Handling cranky kids can be tricky. Add your own witching hour to it, and you have a recipe for disaster. Before the situation ends in tears (on both sides!), take a look at our tips to manage this problematic period:
If you are calm, you will find yourself in a much better frame of mind to understand moody kids. If you add your stress to their tantrums, the witching hour could turn into an all-night event. Make it a priority to carve out time for yourself every day. Pick up a book to read, listen to your favorite tunes, or do an on-demand workout video. You can schedule some educational screen time
(like Square Panda!) for the kids while you take some time for YOU.
Ride It Out
Some days there is no stopping the witching hour. On those days, let it happen. Allow your kids to express their opinions and feelings, even if that comes with a bit of screaming, crying, or shouting. Once they expel their energy, they will be in a more malleable frame of mind.
Give Them Your Undivided Attention
After you've spent some long hours at work, your kids might be looking for some attention. Make an effort to put down your phone and listen to what they have to say. You can even schedule some parent-child play time
with them. They will be happy to go back to solo tasks once they have felt heard and had some one-on-one time with you.
Plan 'Kiddie' Time
Just like you have your favorite activities, your kids have theirs. Tracing, reading, coloring, playing, or even a little bit of screen time! Designate some special 'play' time for them to do the activities they like most. This can help calm down and distract them, and they will be more even-tempered (and happier!) in anticipation of this play time.
Put Them To Work
Asking for their help with chores can seem counterproductive, given that the witching hour is often a product of fatigue, but giving frustrated little ones a task can work in your favor! Put them in charge of sorting laundry or sweeping and it might soothe their grouchiness, calm their thoughts, and make them feel like they are contributing something to their home.
Schedule ‘Square Panda’ Time
Queue up some educational fun! Set aside time exclusively for Square Panda learning games
. With 11 different interactive games to choose from, you can easily divert their attention and teach them phonics and reading skills. Best of all, you can have fun watching them learn (or take a few moments to check things off your list)!
What are your go-to tips for dealing with the witching hour?
Tell us in the comment section; like and share this post on social media or via email!