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Winning the "Witching Hour"

  • Dr. Allie and Miss Barbara
  • Parenting
  • No Comments

Do you notice a period of time during the day, usually the late afternoon, when your child is especially restless, sensitive, or showing challenging behaviors? This is totally normal…but difficult to manage…especially since this time period often coincides with a time during the day when you need to get things done! At our house, we see the “witching hour(s)” around 5-7pm. This is right when we are making dinner, sitting down for dinner, and then trying to wind down and get ready for our bedtime routine.

Here are some strategies to set you and your child up for success!

1. Water Play

Water is calming for kids (and adults too)! You can fill up a bin with water or let your child stand at the sink, if they are old enough. We love this pretend play kitchen sink and use it every day!

2. Involve Your Child

Kids love to help. We love to use this trick when making dinner. If you have a young toddler, give your child a kitchen bowl (or three!) and spoon (or whisk or spatula) and let them pretend they are cooking with you! If your child is older, let them stand on a kitchen tower and actually help you. This is also a great opportunity for learning, especially for building language and executive functioning skills as you walk through steps of a recipe and measure ingredients.


3. Go Outside

Nature has such a powerful impact on children, and it has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress in adults too. Even if it is for a short period of time, head outside and you might notice a change of scenery is enough to help you and your little one get through this tricky time of day. We love having “snack walks” outside!


4. Play with Play Dough

You can make your own dough or use store bought play doughs. Add some play dough tools and watch your little get creative!


5. Listen to Music...and Dance!

Sometimes little ones need calming, classical music…but sometimes they just need to dance out their energy! Play some relaxing music while your child is engaging in a quiet activity or play some upbeat music to get a dance party started!


6. Use Quiet Bins

Making a bin for each day of the week can help your little stay interested in toys they do not have access to all the time. You don’t have to use only toys…books, word cards, and sensory bins work great too!


Here are some of our recent bins:

Monster Trucks in Cheerios

We love this sensory bin and it’s safe for snacking! Monster trucks linked here.

Word Cards

This is a favorite for our little one! We love these word cards! Other sets we love using linked here, here, and here.


Include a puzzle, stacking toy (shown above; linked here), or magnetic maze (like this one) to keep your little one busy!

Early Math Activities

Our little one loves this elephant early math set from Lakeshore Learning. (Similar less expensive set linked here).

Coloring Books, Sticker Books and/or Water Activity Books

We love these activity books and find that they can keep our little entertained for a long time! We have some of our favorites linked below!

  • No Mess Water Activity Books linked here and here
  • Sticker Books linked here, here and here
  • Coloring Book shown above (linked here) is perfect for toddlers
  • Our favorite Crayons for little hands linked here

Do you have other survival tips that work for you? Share with us below!

Author: Dr. Allie and Miss Barbara

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