Snack time and creative craft time are both things you can turn to when the rhythm or mood of your house needs a shift. Your kids get cranky, we know. All kids do. But don’t despair, you can bring them back around! Today’s crafty Owl Snack combats the grumpies in 2 ways: It gives them a wholesome snack to help quell their hunger and it gives them a quiet, but creative outlet which they might need after a loud and, sadly, maybe less than creative day at school.
Earlier on the blog when we showed you how we make our Beach Themed Kid Afternoon Snack, we talked about how the transition back to school can be rough for kids and families. That has certainly been true in our house. We have pretty intense kids who do well academically and are pretty well behaved at school. However, like a lot of families, we struggle during “the witching hour”. The witching hour as explained by The Art of Simple is just that time of day when crankiness is commonplace and frequent meltdowns occur. For a lot of families it falls around 4 to 5pm. This is usually the case for our house; our kids seem to come home and let out all of their frustrations and intensity that they have bottled up throughout the day. It can be rough. It’s enough to drive any parent to the brink, often times to and over the brink of cocktail hour. And while a cocktail every now and then is okay, it really shouldn’t be your answer to parental stress. And losing your patience and screaming isn’t a good solution either. Your kids need you. You want to be there for them, but how?
It’s challenging for sure because kids haven’t cornered the market on being tired and cranky. These conditions don’t simply melt away when you become an adult, but hopefully we at least develop better coping skills. But, admittedly, a little refresher course now and then never hurts! Always be adapting forward! I think half the battle is to know it’s coming and to be ready with some strategies you can employ.
In our house we have tried different methods of surviving the witching hour and to help our kids (okay, parents too) avoid or transition out of meltdowns. Some things that have worked are an abundance of good healthy snacks, retreating to rooms for alone time, a little quiet screen time (this seems to delay and intensify the frustration), coloring, and outside play. These tactics have all worked to varying degrees. Outside play, for example, has worked great for letting the kids release pent up energy and frustration. It’s great for avoiding meltdowns, but then sometimes, if we’re not careful, a huge meltdown is coming once we finally do transition inside. So a key to this strategy is to make sure it’s also paired with a lot of snacking so they are replenishing their energy supply.
Recently, we connected through email with Karen from the We Turned Out Okay Podcast (a great resource parents) and she offered up even more insights on some of our questions about dealing with the after school witching hour. You can listen to them here (scroll down and find episode #28). One of her recommendations to us was to give our kids a choice in the after school activity. I think this is a really good reminder for us. When we do present our kids with choices usually it leads to positive results. For instance, figuring out what to plan for dinner and getting the kids to try new things has always been a struggle, but once I started letting each kid choose a meal and a night they wanted to be helper we’ve had more success.
It’s all a work in progress. I guess that’s life. We are still working on controlling the witching hour. Some days we do really well, others, not so much! It does seem like we have the most success when we give them a choice of activities paired with a choice of healthy snacks.
Some days we’ve even managed to pair activities and snacks together as is the case with our Healthy Owl Snack/Craft. It’s a craft project you can eat! This is also a craft that I did with my daughter’s daycare and all of the kids really loved it. Kids really respond to crafting and creative pursuits and so incorporating that with snack time has even more value and is a great tool for your Parental tool bag.
Here’s the easy to follow recipe for How to Create Your Own Owl Snack:
- Large cracker (we used the Breton crackers)
- Apple slices
- Thin sliced cheese (we used sharp cheddar)
- Triscuit thin crisps
- Ritz bits cheddar crackers
- Sliced olives
- Layer apples on bottom as the wings with the large cracker on top (apples should stick out slightly).
- Using a circular biscuit cutter (or we used small mason jar lids and small juice glasses) cut a circle out of your cheese and place on top of the cracker.
- Then use a triangular Triscuit thin crisp on top with mini ritz and olives for eyes.
- Use sliced almonds to decorate the owl with feathers.
- Any other personal touches you can think of to make your creation soar!