Wednesday, 23 September 2020

The return of the witching hour

When the children were small, and at home with me all day, I really struggled with the witching hour. We would often go out in the morning followed by an early lunch, and by 4pm everyone was bored and tea seemed a long way off. I struggled to cook dinner with children screaming and hanging off my legs, and there were often tears all round. Even once they were at school I still had tired children to deal with, but as they got older they were easier to look after, they could get on with their simple homework or play, and I was able to get on with preparing lunchboxes and dinner.

But the last few weeks have felt like a return to those difficult days. The children are exhausted after school. They are returning to a routine which they had all but forgotten, and are coping with new teachers, a new timetable and in Harry's case a new school. The amount of homework has increased, and time management skills need to be honed. As with everyone, the state of uncertainty is having a massive effect. With Covid cases already in the school, sometimes I feel as though it's only a matter of time before we are all back home again. 

By the time we get home from school, both children are often in tears. Mia is in no state to begin her homework, she needs a drink, a snack and some screen time to calm down. Harry is very good about getting straight on with his work, but when he looks at his list, which usually contains several tasks, he becomes overwhelmed and doesn't know where to start. I end up bouncing between the two of them doling out snacks, hugs and advice, and that's before I even think about starting dinner. This stops me from doing everything that I need to do, and so we all get cross with each other.

Luckily once dinner is out the way things are better. The children have a bath and get ready for bed, and then Mia is in a much better mood to get her homework done and Harry can catch up with his screen and reading time. By the time I have read to them and tucked them up in bed we have all calmed down.

It's going to take us a little while to get back into the swing of things so I'm trying to be as patient as I can, and to do the best I can to help with the transition. I'm really glad that the children are able to be back to school, both for their education and to be able to spend time with their friends, but it's going to take us all a few weeks yet to get used to it!

Photo credit Annie Spratt via Unsplash

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