I have been a mom for 5 years but a stay at home mom for less than a year. The transition to SAHM was not easy for me going from being a full time attorney to a full time stay at home mom to two kids under the age of four. One thing that surprised me was the tough time of day- mid afternoon. I began to dread that time of day: the kids are tired from our morning activity, we normally don’t have afternoon plans, I am tired but it is too early to start our evening routine. The hours of 3-5 are tough for me, but here are my tips to win the mid afternoon slump as a SAHM.
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I recently became a SAHM after working as an attorney for 10 years (read all about the transition here). My kids are 4 and 2, so pretty young. My 4 year old is in prechool three days a week but I kept him home this summer. My 2 year old is always home with me.
Getting into a routine with my transition to staying at home was tricky. And then once we had a daily routine down- school ended and my son was home all the time with me- and no structure.
Some people have amazing schedules for the day- a time for art work, reading, meals, independent play, etc. But I am not that structured and each day this summer has been different, as we have had all different activities. I try to keep snacks and meals at the same time and hav a focus on quiet time. I make sure we have quiet time each day, as I have found both of my kids really need some chill time each day, and honestly, so do I.
But here is my general schedule for the kids:
6am-7am Kids wake up, eat breakfast
9:30-10am: I offer the kids a snack
12pm: Lunch time;
1-3:00pm Quiet time/tv time. During this time, my son has his Kids Fire for 3o minutes. My daughter will normally watch some cartoons. They will also play with toys quietly during this time. I try to keep quiet time to actually be quiet/chill time. My kids really need some down time each day.
3:00pm: Offer the kids snack #2
5-5:30pm: I serve dinner between 5/5:30
The Struggle Time: The struggle time for me, and a lot of moms, is the 3-5;00 window. My kids are tired, as they don’t nap anymore, and honestly, I am tired too, and at some point, I have to start dinner.
Tips to win the mid afternoon slump as a SAHM
These tips are for you and your kids to get through the rough part of the afternoon. When your kids are tired, you are burnt out from a day of keeping your kids busy- and yet you still have hours before dinner.
Here is how to survive (and helpfully have some fun) in the afternoon.
First, make coffee or a drink you enjoy.
You probably already drink a cup of coffee in the afternoon (or two…), but make that drink something special. I have been making espresso over ice with a protein drink to help me get over the mid day hump. Some days I like to make a bit of a fancy drink like a latte (learn about my lattes here). If you don’t drink coffee, make a cup of tea.
Make something you enjoy drinking. Making myself a nice drink in the afternoon is something that I look forward to and is important to help me get through the afternoon.
Get outside, even for a few minutes.
Even if the weather isn’t great, I get the kids into the stroller and try to go on at least a 10 minute walk around the block. The summer here in NJ has been really hot, so 10 minutes feels like an hour, but this walk does wonders for my afternoon.
If the kids are cranky or restless, the change of scenery helps their mood. If the kids were watching tv during quiet time, it is a greta way to get them away from the screens. Sometimes if I don’t feel like pushing the double stroller, I will let the kids walk up and down the sidewalk or color with chalk on the driveway.
Even if you do not feel like it- try to get outside.
Change of scenery in the house.
In the middle of winter getting outside just isn’t an option- but you can change where you are in the house. We spend most of our time at home in the living room (which has become the playroom) or the family room. Most of the kids toys are in the living room, but they each have a few select toys in their bedrooms. When the kids get restless downstairs- we move upstairs to their bedrooms to play with the toys they keep in their rooms. I try to keep quiet toys in their rooms: my son has a train set and my daughter a small doll house. These are great toys that they can spend an hour easily setting up and playing with, which gives me a chance to drink my coffee.
I also will relocate my kids quiet time to upstairs. I have a tv now in the master bedroom. The kids love to lay in my bed and watch their shows. This gives me a chance to put away laundry or clean up the upstairs. I used to spend all day downstairs with the kids and struggled to get anything put away upstairs. Now, when the kids watch tv in my bedroom, I get a chance to tidy the upstairs rooms up.
A simple change up of your scenery will be exciting to your kids and help your afternoon fly by.
A simple art activity.
I like to keep a few simple activities on hand for the afternoon. This is easier said then done. Sometimes I take out the clay, but I like a simple craft that does not make a mess. Here are some ideas for easy and minimal mess activities:
I have to add in here that these types of activities I keep on a high shelf, only to be used when needed. A lot of activities my kids always have access to- like coloring books and crayons, so those are not special activities. Keeping some special simple art activities hidden until needed is important.
I also like to sometimes have an easy baking project on hand. I like to buy pre-made cookie dough that the kids can break apart to bake some afternoon cookies. I make baking anything into a big deal- someone sets the timer, we turn on the oven light to watch the cookies- I try to make a short activity into a project to help fill the afternoon.
Face time with someone.
I like to call grandparents on Face Time and let the kids talk to someone other than me. My kids are young, so sometimes they struggle with figuring out what to talk about. I will prompt my kids to show their grandparents a specific toy or a drawing they made. Make the call a big deal- let the kids pick out who the talk to, show them how to make a call and let them end the call (my kids loving pressing buttons!).
Turn on the music.
Have a dance party. Well, maybe not you, but put some music on that your kids like and let them dance. My kids have favorite movies now that have songs they recognize, my kids eyes always light up when they hear their favorite song. So rather than watch their favorite movie again (and again), turning on the music will keep them busy for a while.
Turn on the TV.
I turn on the tv for my kids between 1-3:00pm every day during quiet time. Normally they will watch tv, then play a little with their toys, and go back to the tv. If I am making dinner, sometimes the only way I get a chance to chop or open the oven without a kid on my leg is to turn on the tv. Sometimes, you just have to do it.
Win the Mid Afternoon Slump as a SAHM
I hope these suggestions and ideas will help you get over the mid afternoon slump. The afternoon is always a challenge for me, so I like to keep these ideas handy. What I like about these ideas is that they can cost nothing. Do you have any tips for winning the mid afternoon slump?
Disclaimer: Links in this post are Amazon affiliate links, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.