Evening meltdowns

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by SMax, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. SMax

    SMax Well-Known Member

    Our evenings are starting to drive me BONKERS. I work full-time and both DH and I arrive home around 4:30pm...I make a good point to hang with the kiddos for 30 minutes before I start working on dinner at 5pm. They are often in good spirits, but seem kind of bored with the toys that are available in the family room (my kiddos stay home with their caregiver while we are at work). Once I make my way into the kitchen, they instantly want "up, up" while they could have cared less about being held in the 30 minutes beforehand.

    The last few nights have been trying...the whining is unbearable!! I need some good strategies on how to make the evenings more enjoyable...I miss my kids a lot during the day, but they are not the easiest creatures to be around at night.

    They have a play kitchen in the kitchen, but it doesn't really keep them occupied. I tried letting them stand on chairs at the counter so they could watch me making dinner, but that didn't last very long. I thought about pulling out crayons and paper, but they still need supervision or the crayons will be picked to pieces.

    What do you do in the evenings? Is the "5pm Meltdown" just going to be the name of the game for awhile???

    ETA: My kids are on a pretty decent nap schedule, sleeping between 12:30-2:30/3pm. They go to bed between 6:45 and 7pm. I don't think I can blame this on being overtired!
  2. anicakes

    anicakes Well-Known Member

    I have been going through this for months--we are on the same schedule as you, except my girls go to daycare. When I come home around 4:30pm, I try to spend some time with them--talk to them, read, etc...then start dinner. But the same thing happens here...it was worse a few months ago, and I slowly see improvements. I have tried a few things that help at times--I give them a small snack (like raisins) and also put on Sesame Street or a DVD they really like. That seems to calm them down for a bit.

    I think the meltdowns are due to the fact they haven't seen you all day, and just miss you! I have asked other parents, and they seem to go through the same thing. Hopefully it'll start getting better!
  3. vharrison1969

    vharrison1969 Well-Known Member

    I'm so glad I'm not the only one!! I've mentioned this before, that it's like a switch flips at 5pm and my boys turn into raving psychos! :crazy: DH is out of town this week and my nanny is staying a bit longer in the evening (he usually gets home first) and yesterday she said she is never staying past 5pm again. ;) They're perfectly fine until 5, then the "witching hour" begins!

    I literally cannot do anything when 5pm hits. They're hanging onto my legs, throwing themselves in front of me; I can't even move. I think it's a combination of them missing me (gee, I'm so flattered <_< ) and them starting to get bored/hungry. I keep a cabinet full of Tupperware and toy kitchen equipment that they can rummage through while I cook, which helps sometimes. Occasionally I'll give them a small snack if it's been a while since they ate last. But I have to say the only sure-fire "cure" is to turn on a Baby Signing Time video and let them veg out for 20 minutes.

    No, I don't love "pawning off" my kids to the TV (I feel like I'm ignoring them after being away all day at work), but they are so much calmer and happier, and I can get dinner ready, which is essential! They will be much worse off if they don't get to eat.

    I really think this is one of those lovely "phases" that they go through. But if I'm really honest with myself I have to admit that they did this when they were infants and would cluster feed in the evenings, and I was stuck on the couch nursing for hours after getting home from work. :gah:

    Sorry I don't have a lot more ideas about how to help, but I did want to tell you that you're not alone and that I feel exactly the same way. I'm just hoping (for you and for me), that this is temporary.... :hug:

    Good luck!
  4. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I am going to have agree with Valerie on this one, I think it is a phase. I know my two went through this in the evenings and when it was at it's worst, I was home all day and DH was working night shift, so they had both of us around in the afternoon and evening. The worst thing would be that we would turn the TV on, hoping that would help and they'd cry because they'd want us to hold them and watch TV at the same time :faint:
    As hard as DH and I gritted our teeth through this phase, I am surprised we have any left. We would just try to explain that we needed to get dinner done, pay bills, etc.
    It does get better ladies. My kids aren't nearly as bad now as they were several months ago :hug:
  5. DATJMom

    DATJMom Well-Known Member

    Oh yes, I hated the evenings at that age. They were so hard. I ended up making dinner earlier in the day so I could just pop it into the oven. I realize that you arent home, so maybe on the weekends make an extra meal or two and freeze them. Then you will have something one or two nights a week already made. You could also try a PBS show or something to see if it will hold their attention while you get dinner going :tomato: Or what about letting them play in a kitchen cabinet. We had one that wasnt locked that had all the Tupperware in it. They could climb in and out while I was in there. I have made plenty of meals juggling a baby. It will get better. You can do this!!
  6. SMax

    SMax Well-Known Member

    Thanks for commiserating, everyone! Glad to know that we are not the only ones still enjoying the "witching hour" :)
  7. Fossie

    Fossie Well-Known Member

    Ours do it too, and the only thing we have found that helps is that when we get home we have developed a routine for them too - they each get a sippy cup of milk, we turn on Yo Gabba Gabba, and pull out the riding toys! Sounds like a lot of crutches, huh - but, I don't care - I would rather them do that (or the tupperware drawer that we have too) then whine and climb on me! We have good days and bad days and I really hope it is a phase - plus, if anyone saw me ignoring dd (especially) when she is in the midst of one of her "I want to be held incessantly" meltdowns they would think I am heartless, so I am hoping I don't have to act like that forever!
  8. Rach28

    Rach28 Well-Known Member

    Mine go to nursery in the afternoons (and are with me in the mornings) and I get the attention-seeking behaviour too. I guess they have issed you and want their cuddles plus they are maybe hungry etc. In your shoes, I´d put a video on. I use Baby Einstein and it is a lifesaver! They eat quietly and one will sit in their highchair happily while I get the other ready for bed. Occasionally the one waiting will cry but I am one and they are 2 so one always has to wait. The crying is short-lived anyway so they know the score. I know TV may not be the answer but you could try it. Also, can the caregiver take them out at all in the afternoon? Mine get very ansy when they are at home all day long. Just a thought. GL!
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