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Late afternoon meltdown - how to cope?

(8 Posts)
jumpjockey Thu 05-Nov-09 17:42:36

I know they call it the arsenic hour... but what is the cure? DD is 11 months and basically once it gets to about 4.30 she gets very clingy and wants to hold onto my legs all the time, which means making tea gets very hard. If I try to give her a toy to play with then dash to kitchen and shut the safety gate she just stands by it wailing as if the world is coming to an end. Giving her a breadstick or similar used to work as a pacifier but she's wised up to that hmm

Any ideas for how to stop me just wanting to shut the door on her and leave her to it? blush I'm back to work a couple of days a week soon so am envisioning picking her up from nursery and then just a big rush to get her fed and into bed rather than any particular 'quality time'. And before anyone says get DH to help, his work means he's only home in time for bedtime stories one or two days a week, let alone a family tea

displayuntilbestbefore Thu 05-Nov-09 17:45:21

I have this every day too. All you can do is find something that is guaranteed to keep them calm and happy for as long as oyu need to cook tea! After a few years of tearing my hair out and turning into a spewing, scary mum in response to agitated dcs, I now save a few items purely for this time of day and usually dump a pile of cars and boxes down and suggest they all make a town and pretend to go shopping or similar.
Sorry can't be of more help - it's a rite of passage for parents I think!

displayuntilbestbefore Thu 05-Nov-09 17:46:34

...meant to say, I find that once they've eaten, all is calm and everyone seems pacified, so maybe think about earlier tea? Mine are ravenous within an hour of getting in from school so I tend to do 4.30pm tea on weekdays and then a bit of cereal later if they're peckish.

jumpjockey Thu 05-Nov-09 17:51:14

display - once she's at nursery they'll be having a 'high tea' at 3.30 so that might help. Not sure if she'll need another meal after that tbh but I don't want her waking up ravenous in the middle of the night! Good idea about toys she doesn't play with otherwise. And there's always beebies I suppose...!

displayuntilbestbefore Thu 05-Nov-09 17:53:57

CBeebies is a given! wink
Think having the high tea at nursery will certainly help stave off the agitation caused by hunger. Depending on what time you collect her you might have a bit of "quality" time over a bowl of ready brek or weetabix as a supper in the evening before bed.

Rosebud05 Thu 05-Nov-09 21:56:26

Our late afternoon goes much smoother if I have prepared tea earlier in the day. Could you do it during her nap?

memoo Fri 06-Nov-09 13:25:02

I try to make tea earlier in the afternoon, I do a lot of stews and cassaroles (sp) that I can just reheat later on.

I also give DC their tea at about half 4 because by that time they are starving, if this isn't possible because we have been out or something I let them have some cereal or toast to keep them going.

hattyyellow Fri 06-Nov-09 13:37:51

Hello jump! Can't believe she's 11 months already - doesn't seem long since we were all planning our births not our first birthday parties!

My DD has tea around 4pm if she's really ratty and then will take a bigger feed at bedtime to make up for it.

Have you tried other finger foods? DD will be happily distracted with bright things like strawberries etc. That generally buys me a few minutes to get everything else ready..she will sit in her highchair. I tend to do any proper cooking whilst she is having her lunchtime sleep, but like my older two, she prefers to have a "proper" meal at lunch and then eat lots of fingerfoods at teatime.

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