The After-School Witching Hour: Can Your Family Survive It?

After a long day of work and school many families have very little energy left to tackle the last half of the day – which usually includes homework, dinner, some form of extracurricular activity, and eventually, sleep. In this current era of “do more”, it can be so easy for your family to try to cram as much into that small space of time you all have after school and after work. But, how much of that busyness is actually causing the tension in your home? In this video I share with you 3 ways you and your family can survive the after-school witching hour.

No time to watch the video? Check out the transcript below! 

Many families that I worked with constantly talk to me about how afterschool is one of the most busiest time that they have to deal with.

Besides just managing activities and homework and bedtime, they are also managing kids and other family members who are all really tired really worn out and have about this much energy left for the rest of the day, including themselves. I know that the “after-school witching hour,” as I like to call it, can be difficult for families.

So in this video I really want to talk about the three ways that you and your family can really begin to understand what it means to get through that after school hour from the time that everyone gets home from after school to the time that everyone goes to bed without it feeling so chaotic; without it having so many power struggles and making sure that everyone goes to sleep feeling rested and ready for the next day.

Create Mindful Schedules

The first way that you and your family can really begin to change the tone and the mood of that after school hour is to begin to create mindful schedules. What that looks like is you don’t just do things because you know you have to do it and because you think everyone has to do it, or it’s just something that you’ve committed to, so everyone is going to stick to it. It’s creating schedules that help everyone feel replenished at the end of the day. For example, if someone plays sports, we need an understanding of what that sport schedule looks like and how that helps that person feel motivated and energized.  If another person doesn’t have activities, we can look at how can they feel energized at the end of their day. Everybody’s family to going to look different; everyone’s family is going to have a multitude of afterschool activities that need to get done, including homework, eating, bath time, and getting to bed. But when you’re creating a schedule that’s mindful, it actually helps people to feel more energized. So that schedule doesn’t feel like a drag; it doesn’t feel like a burden and it doesn’t feel like something that they are being pull to do, but it feels like something they really want to do.

One thing that I think you you can always add to that mindful schedule is making sure that everyone is eating healthy and has enough fluids and water their body. I think as we get busy throughout the day it’s really easy to not eat healthy; it’s really easy just to grab something that’s really fast and really quick but not always healthy. And I know that when we feel healthy and we got the right energy kind of flowing through our body from what we eat, we do feel a lot better. So regardless of what else is going, I think part of creating that mindful schedule is also creating time where everyone can eat and everyone can kind to get re-energized after school.

Creating a mindful schedule means creating schedules that help everyone feel replenished at the end of the day.

Learn What Your Family Needs After-school

The second way that you can really begin to change the tone and the mood of how everyone feels after school, is to actually learn what everyone needs after school. Each of us is different, some of us can go non-stop and we don’t really need that break. And some of us, after a whole long day of work and a whole long day of school, we might need 30 minutes to 45 minutes to do absolutely nothing but just to sit and chill. Examples of taking that break after-school can including reading a book, going outside to get the wiggles out, and if you use electronics in your home, being able to take some time to kind of zone out and play on your devices. The funny thing is that we all tend to range in between each of these examples. A really great way that you and your family can really begin to change the way the afterschool hour looks is to really learn what everybody needs after work and after school. I know that there are a lot of activities and there are a lot of things that we can be doing in this time frame. But going back to step number one in creating those mindful schedules that actually take into account what everybody needs, you’re going to have a lot less tension and a lot less power struggle after school, because everyone is getting their needs met and everyone is getting their energy bucket filled up in a way that helps them to feel more energized and more ready to take on the second half of their day.

Learn what each member of your family truly needs to feel reenergized at the end of the day.

Don’t Over Commit

The third strategy that I’ll talk to you about – actually really goes in line with one and two – is don’t over commit. I know that in this fast-paced world, where they’re so many meetings to go to, so many afterschool activities that kids can be involved in, so many things that need to get done on our to-do-list, it’s really easy to overcommit ourselves to that small amount of time between after school, after work and bedtime. But going back to this idea of creating a mindful schedule and learning what everyone needs at the end of the day to  replenish themselves: when we over commit, that’s when we begin to see that power struggle because everyone is tired, everyone is getting frustrated. It’s not just the kids, for you as the parent as well; you begin to feel dragged down, frustrated, no energy because you don’t really want to do these things that you’ve committed to. Thus, I really want to stress this idea of not overcommitting to things after school. Really creating the after school ritual – an after school schedule  – that allows everybody to get replenished. Since after work or after school having only a couple more hours to get homework done to get food in our stomach, to get showers and baths done, that’s enough we don’t always need that extra piece. I challenge you to think about how you’re committing and think about not over committing when it comes to that after school time to reduce some of that tension and some of that chaos that tends to happen during the after school witching hour.

Overcommitting added more tension and stress to your family – which leads to more power struggles – so don’t over commit.

The Recap

Let’s do a quick recap, the three ways that you and your family can actually survive the after school witching hour.

  1. Create mindful schedules: These are schedules that help everybody in the family be aware of what they need and be aware of how to replenish themselves.
  2. Learn what your family needs after school: Learn what everybody needs at the end of the day. Not just to assume that everybody needs snacks or everybody needs a break. But really learn what does each person need at the end of their workday, at the end of their school day, so that way they can kind of get through the end of the day without feeling so frustrated, tired and fatigued.
  3. Don’t over commit: Realize that you don’t need to overcommit. There’s so many things to keep us busy and there’s so many things to do on our to-do-list all the time. However, when we overcommit that after school witching hour, gets really tense really quick because everyone is tired, no one has any more energy right? Their energy levels are here and we’re still being asked to do so many things. So just really take some time to not overcommit yourself as the parent as well as your kids and the activities that they may be doing as well.

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