We have this ‘thing’ in our household, about an hour or so before daddy gets home and dinner is ready, where our family gets a little… ‘nutty’. I don’t know what it is, but it’s like the kids, and even the dog, get a little hyper. Bickering happens, accidents and messes happen, it can get downright ugly. I’m usually juggling more than my fair share of tasks leading up to dinner, so my focus is spread thin, and if something is going to go wrong– this seems to be the time of day that utter chaos tries to knock on our door. It was time for a “reset”.
After experiencing this craziness for years, I realized that our family needed a kind of ‘reprogramming’ each afternoon before dinner in order to ensure a level of peace in the evenings. The cool thing is that I now see how much it has also blessed my husband after a long day at work. Win!
Here’s How We Make Time for a “Reset” Before Dinner:
- Get everyone involved in a quick cleanup around the house to restore order. – It’s amazing what orderly rooms can do for the mind and mood. Even if you just grab a basket and pick things up to be put away later, especially in the entryway and main living spaces, it will do wonders for your peace of mind.
- Calm the house. –Turn off the TVs, electronics, & noisy toys. Put some soft, uplifting music on in the background. I like Pandora on our Roku- lots of options!
- Engage the children in some type of creative, but low-key activity. –Puzzles, art, play doh, reading, stickers… anything that will calm them so they are not running like maniacs by the time daddy comes home. We have a special cabinet in the dining room for this purpose, it houses quiet activities that are used only for this time of day.
- Light a candle or two, diffuse some essential oils, turn on your Scentsy wax tart burner, or boil some potpourri on the stove — candles and nice scents always put a nice touch on anything and help to lift the mood… Sometimes I’ll just throw some sliced lemons, a herb like basil and a dash of vanilla in some water to gently simmer on the stove smells wonderful!
- If you’re able to, freshen up a bit. — Quick hair check, a spritz of perfume, lip gloss, change your shirt… this one is always a challenge for me because this is usually a busy time for me, but when I am able to, it really helps to refresh and lift me.
- Have the meal planned, prepped and nearly ready or completely ready.— When I have the meal ready on time, it relieves a lot of stress for me. I utilize my crock pot most days and freeze ahead cooking to make planning much easier. If your children are not prone to spoiling their dinner, about 20 minutes before serving the meal, it’s nice to set out some sliced cucumber, broccoli or another veggie (but nothing with a bunch of sugar!) for them to munch on while dinner is being finished. I have found that doing this helps my children actually calm down before dinner.
- Have your beverages of choice already made or set up to make. — My husband often likes to have a cup of coffee when he gets home from work on a cold day, so I try to have the coffee maker at least brewing as he walks in the door. In the summer months, he loves cold drinks like iced tea and frozen coffees. I enjoy being able to do this little thing for him because I know how much he appreciates it. I have pitchers of tea or other drinks made for the family, as well, for our main meal.
- As silly as it may sound, take a moment to ask God to bless your evening together. –A little prayer goes a long way! Acknowledging Him in everything we do, even in what seems like the small things, can make the biggest difference of all.
When I follow these steps, our evenings are usually very enjoyable and relaxed. My husband comes home to a haven and we enjoy each other more as a family. I get to slow down for a little bit and have some conversation with my husband about the day and the kids get our attention. It ministers to each of us and refreshes us at the end of each day. Try it!
What kinds of things do you do to minister to your husband/family?
Deb Perkins says
Agree! We used to call this the “witching hour!” I think a big piece of this is when a mom (or stay-@-home dad) can prepare in advance (like crockpot meal), there is already a sense of peace that the kids will pick up on. They feel our stress! I also typically light a candle before the Sabbath meal (I’m not Jewish but appreciate the practice of the sabbath), but found it to be such a relaxing “signal” to me that we now have candlelight dinners almost every night in the wintertime. Something soothing about it! ☺
Exactly Deb! It has really helped our home atmosphere!
Stephanie Smith says
I love this and can totally relate! What great advice! I like the idea of a quiet activity stash.