Anyone with kids has probably noticed the 5:00 hour is somehow a portal to the dark side.
There’s no getting around it. It’s been called “the bewitching hour”, “arsenic hour” and reversely, “happy hour” by parents who choose to check out while the chaos ensues.
Joking aside, this is the perfect example of how to use natural forces to your advantage.
Maybe asking the kids to sit down and crack the books at 5:00 is asking for a meltdown—one that could be avoided by simply going with the flow of natural productivity. Homework at 3:00? Possibly. Homework at 6:00? Doable. But homework at 5:00? Probably not.
The point is, it’s important to notice your child’s natural rhythms and preference and then leverage them to create seamless routines that support an instinctual nature.
If your child is squirrely at 5pm, that might be a good time to invite him into the kitchen and have him make his lunch for the following day.
Perhaps your child is a morning person. Invite them to make lunches before the bus.
Got a late sleeper? Develop a routine that will have them prep their stuff before they go to bed so they get up and follow the same process right out the door.
There are some influences that can’t be changed, but there are many small adjustments that will lead to a much smoother flow throughout the day. And remember: expect hotspots around the am and bedtime routines, transitions to leave the house and getting “stuff” together for sports and activities.
No matter what your rhythms and preferences are, understanding them and working with them will make each and every day more enjoyable for you and everyone around you.
Finding the right rhythm may take some time. Here are some ideas to get you going.
- Identify the night owls and the morning larks.
- Identify the rabbits and the turtles.
- If a conflict ensues regarding an activity at a certain time of day – this is your key.
- Have faith. Try it out. Give it time. And TRUST.
Vicki Hoefle is a popular parent educator, speaker and author of Duct Tape Parenting: A Less Is More Approach to Raising Respectful, Responsible, and Resilient Kids and her new book The Straight Talk on Parenting: A No Nonsense Approach on How to Grow a Grownup.