One of the things we struggle with in our house is staying calm and peaceful in the late afternoon and evenings. Our boys take good naps and often have lots of energy at the end of the day when I am finishing up chores, making dinner and can’t always be engaged with them in play or a project. They typically play well together but all it takes is one of them to start running laps through the kitchen, hallway and living room before it gets out of hand. I’m all for some running around, yelling and being silly but safety (and sanity) becomes an issue as things start to escalate.
So, this is a time that I try to be proactive. Here are some of the things I have seen work in our household.
1. Dim the lights
If you don’t have a dimmer, I recommend picking one up from a hardware store. They are easy to install and quite effective. We use the natural light during the day but when the sun starts setting I turn the lights on low. Another option is to only use floor lamps or table lamps but our space doesn’t allow for that so we utilize the dimmer.
I’ve used essential oils for some time now from lavender as a sleep aid to a variety of scents mixed together to create an all natural bug spray. Recently though, I purchased a diffuser to put in our living room. I add pre-blended synergies that promote a calming atmosphere, straight lavender or a concoction of my own. “…odiferous messages barrel along dedicated pathways straight from the nose and right into the brain’s olfactory cortex, for instant processing.” (The New York Times)
We usually spend the day without any background noise at all but in the afternoons I often put on classical or meditation music. I like Bach and Greig for classical and I’ve discovered and love Liquid Mind meditation music.
4. Structured Play
This is a great time to put out a box with play dough and tools or beads and string, introduce new fine motor work, or even have the kids help prepare dinner by slicing tomatoes or cutting fruit. I find that open ended play or free play usually does not run smoothly at this time of day.
I hope some of these work for you and I’d love to hear suggestions and ideas that have worked for your family to maintain that peaceful and calming atmosphere, at any time of the day!