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Ideas for surviving the Arsenic Hour - my parenting in the late afternoon leaves a lot to be desired...

(30 Posts)
liath Wed 03-Sep-08 09:52:35


I have increasing problems staying sane with dd 3.5 and ds 15 months. 4pm hits and it all degenerates into dd winding me up, me getting wound up etc etc. I feel terrible about it, I've lost my temper and smacked her & seem to spend my time yelling. I think a lot of it is tiredness on everyone's part but it's a miserable way to finish off what has usually been a nice day then after they go to bed I end up beating myself up about it.

Any bright ideas??? I often go to the park but that won't be an option wehn the nights draw in.

SlartyBartFast Wed 03-Sep-08 09:55:04

cant you go to park at 2 ish, then be home and cooking or whatever by 4. i am sorry about your losing your temper, just walk away, count to 10... what tiem do they go to bed? i spose its perfectly natural to feel that way "at the end of the day" as it were.
mine are older and go to bed much later but by 9.00 pm i am pretty cross, but it will be later for me at some point

Wheelybug Wed 03-Sep-08 09:57:41

Hello Liath !

I know its a bit of a cop out but would half an hour of television just calm things down, give you a chance to have half an hour to yourself ??

nailpolish Wed 03-Sep-08 10:00:55

a large glass of wine grin

seriously, go to the library or put on dvd. there is a massive blockbuster near you isnt there? childrens films are dead cheap. we often go on a rainy day

if you are feeling energetic put on some music and have a 'disco'

i know what you mean though, its a difficult part of the day at times

nailpolish Wed 03-Sep-08 10:02:37

you know liath, i could have written your OP

does dd go to nursery in the afternoons? i find children can be tired and narky when they get home. go via blcokbusters

maybe they are hungry? do you/they have a mid afternoon snack?

i do most of my shouting at 4pm sad

overthemill Wed 03-Sep-08 10:04:26

are they hungry? we found ds was dreadful around that time and then finally realised (duh) that he was hungry. Piece of toast, apple, banana etc did the trick and we all got on much better. so started having a cup of tea and a snack at that time together (still do).

and there is nothing wrong with a bit of tv/dvd if that works, 1 episode of pingu as a 'reward' (but actually lifesaver for you!).

PLaying a game of tidy up might work with your two OR put on stereo and DANCE like mad for a couple od songs - good for all of you and raises your endorphins!!.

Wheelybug Wed 03-Sep-08 10:05:11

NP is right about blockbuster - we found this out this weekend when we wandered in to get a dvd for the evening and dd wandered off to the 50p children's section. It was even better because dh and I decided to watch the ever so intellectual spiderman 3 which was in the children's section too ! SO peace and quiet for 1.5 hours from dd and an evening's entertainment all for £1 !!!

overthemill Wed 03-Sep-08 10:05:53

hey nailpolish, cross post! great minds grin

we swap dvds with mates from time to time, gives you a new selection, great for bribes

Cappuccino Wed 03-Sep-08 10:09:22

are they a bit peckish? I do a snack after school where we all sit at the table, then if they are still seated at the end of teh snack I get the crayons out and sit and drink my tea while they daub

or books. books are good.

Washersaurus Wed 03-Sep-08 10:10:29

I have a similar problem with my 13mo and 3yo boys. Food definitely helps with DS2, he seems to get really whiney if he is hungry. DS1 will sometimes sit nicely with cbeebies or a disney film on late afternoon, as he gets a bit tired by late afternoon.

The dancing around to music thing really works too - and helps make you feel a bit better if you've been a bit shouty grin

liath Wed 03-Sep-08 10:45:48

Blockbuster is a good idea. Thanks everyone, good to know I'm not alone!

Main problem is dd is hopeless at entertaining herself and has quite a short attention span. She doesn't watch much TV and gets bored of it after 20 minutes or so anyway. After a day of "play with me mummy, mummy, mummy, mummy" I guess I just wish she would leave me alone for a bit blush. Perhaps gin is the answer!!

FluffyMummy123 Wed 03-Sep-08 10:46:20

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FluffyMummy123 Wed 03-Sep-08 10:46:58

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Heated Wed 03-Sep-08 10:52:02

It's just like having a dog - ds had been cooped up at the CMs most of the day so dh took him for a 'run' yesterday.

Bramshott Wed 03-Sep-08 10:52:26

Hi Liath!

I have soooooo struggled against that phrase "mummy PLAY with me" for the last year or so, but things have got better recently so there is light at the end of the tunnel, although my DD1 is 5.5 now. I have tried to set aside time play with her at least once a day (I'll usually say "I'll just make a cup of tea, and then we can play while I drink it). Even though I much prefer doing activities - either out of the house, or craft-type stuff, it doesn't seem to count for DD1 unless it's me in her bedroom, doing imaginitive play which she directs! I have also tried to really praise her when she plays well alone, and gradually it's got better and she's got much better about amusing herself.

So no help really, just sympathy! My main solution to the witching hour is to try to feed them earlier, and then head out into the garden (or make an obstacle course in the living room, or put some music on for dancing) after dinner.

pushchair Wed 03-Sep-08 11:05:43

I call it the witching hour although it lasts from 4ish to 5.30-dinnertime and I lock myself in kitchen to make dinner actually listen to radio/go online/drink wine.
I have DD1 to come home from school and entertain th troops
Yes train LOs to watch videos by constant repetition of instruction to go and see what pingu is doing now!
Get friend round to see you and be a distraction to the LOs
Provide small picnic for them while you sneak into other room.
Have supply of small cheap second-hand shop toys to produce.

Highlander Wed 03-Sep-08 11:06:07

DSs not allowed TV on until 4pm for exactly that reason. Horrible time of day. They can chill, I can sort tea, tidy etc

snowleopard Wed 03-Sep-08 11:10:29

I tend to stay out with DS till later in the day - I would rather not get back in till well after 5, so some of that part of the day is spent coming back from town or wherever on the bus. Then it's telly/DVD on, snuggly blanket and chilling out while I do the tea. I don't feel bad about a bit of telly in the evening since we are generally out all day.

liath Wed 03-Sep-08 11:11:48

Thanks, Bramshott. I spend a LOT of time pretending to be a princess at the moment...

Hadn't realised arsenic hour was a Cod-ism grin. Actually I attempted to hire next-doors teenager but she's gone to university. However a colleague has a wayward 14 year old dd who is driving her bonkers and I've said I'll offer her some paid work playing with my two in scholl hols etc.

nailpolish Wed 03-Sep-08 11:15:03

where you stay tehre are loads of charity shops - ami right?

we have tons here too - the dds love going in for a rummage around - and if they pester you to buy soemthing its usually just 10p

dd1s room is full of charity shop shit blush

its an excellent way to pass an hour

sweetgrapes Wed 03-Sep-08 11:19:50

I sometimes come on here and have another window open with nursery rhymes etc on youtube or cbeebies. We're all 3 happy and after 20 minutes or so we've all calmed down.

overthemill Wed 03-Sep-08 13:10:10

great idea to get teenagers to babysit - very american! check out here for my babysitting directory - lots of teens and students who might suit if you can't get anyone else

FluffyMummy123 Wed 03-Sep-08 13:11:56

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franke Wed 03-Sep-08 13:14:09

We call it the gangrene hour in our house. A snack and a bit of TV usually calms things down for us.

liath Wed 03-Sep-08 18:33:03

Well we went to the park in the rain (via the charity shop) so then it was bath, tidy up and dinner in quick succession. Both now in front of In the Night Garden & I've got a nice glass of wine. Phew!

I think I'm going to have to get into the routine of going out in the afternoon. I've usually tended to go out in the morning when I have more energy but I think that just backfires later.....

Cod, that sounds a bit like the girl I'm hoping to cultivate. Despite driving her mum up the wall she apparently loves kids and is very good with them, does volunteer work in a creche etc. I did loads of badly paid child-care when I was a teenager, it was the making of me!!

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