The Evening Transition
Yesterday afternoon at 5:30 you could hear laughter coming from our dining room. If you peeked in our window, you would have seen all three of us (two of us still in work clothes) sitting at our table happily making “breakfast” with Buckner’s new play-doh kit.
Over the last three years and with a good portion of them including the daycare to night time transition, I have learned the formula for what makes a successful night. Now that doesn’t mean I always do the formula but when I take the time and turn off the never ending to do list in my head, the evenings go much better.
A good transition that fills up my child’s love tank while restoring a lot of lost time from the day goes like this:
5:15: Pick up with a drink and a “prize.” My child is always thirsty at pick up especially during hot months and a thirsty child makes a cranky child. In addition to taking care of thirst, I want to make the evening fun. My mom always had prizes for me growing up and I have started the tradition with Buckner. The prize is small. It can be a special treat like a cookie or a sucker. Non-edibles include a sticker or a coloring sheet that I printed off during the day. Just something to warm the mood and bring some joy to the end of the day spent away from one another.
The Play Transition v. Housework
5:30: This is where I can easily mess up. I have to turn off the nagging desire to run in and immediately start picking things up, cooking dinner, washing dishes, etc. If I start the chores, the work gets done but I feel sad because of lost quality time and Buckner is usually crankier from it. The play transition doesn’t have to last long but can make a huge difference. Fix a light snack for the family. You can even pour yourself and your husband a glass of wine. Then you play! Every one relaxes and transitions much better into an evening at home. Our play-doh activity was the perfect example. Buckner isn’t the only one that relaxes but my husband even commented on the play relaxing him. Play is good for the soul.
Create a Comfort Atmosphere
The Danish call it hygge and it has become quite the sought after trend in American homes over the past year. The basic premise of hygge is to make a comfortable atmosphere in your home where you can escape from the day. Coziness is created by candles, soft lighting, lamps, music, comfortable clothes, blankets, hot tea, etc. My child is so use to me aiming for cozy that he now puts all his stuffed animals in a circle, creating a nest, in his room. He then sits in the middle of it and says, “cozy” with a smile.
Make Dinner Easy
Go easy on yourself. Don’t try to be supermom in this area! I love crock pot recipes and I am a big believer in weekend meal prep. Nothing makes a weekday evening easier than a meal already done for you!
Stick to Your Bedtime Routine
We have a loose bedtime routine but we still have one. We aren’t too strict on time but have approximations. Our child, however, is a night owl so even if we start the routine at 7:00 he will most likely be up until 9:30. We start around 7:00 with bath time followed by story time with lots of cuddles and our night time prayer. Children thrive on routine so it helps he knows what is happening in the evening.
Morning Prep in the Evening
Wait! Before you pass out (I know that is hard to do), take a few minutes and prep for the next day. You can pick up, do the dishes and prep lunches for the next day. I don’t always do a great job of morning prep in the evening because I do choose sleep sometimes but when I do the few extra chores, it does make the next day go a lot easier!
There you have it! What other things do you do that make your evenings special or easier?