For moms with young kids, the dinner prep hour is often referred to as ‘the witching hour.’ There’s a good reason for this! The kids are tired, having played all day. Mom is tired, having homeschooled and entertained kids all day. Dad is not quite home yet, and little tummies are growling.
At our house, this hour before dinner has long been the TV hour. I have a love/hate relationship with my television, as I’m sure many of you do. It is so easy to turn on, and kids that were whining are instantly quiet. It’s a built-in babysitter. But it’s also very addictive for my kids. They can never get enough.
So at our house, we have some pretty strict TV rules, which are helpful for both me and the kids. They are not allowed to ask about watching a movie. They know that when it is time, I will tell them. I usually pick what movie they will watch to avoid bickering (I try to alternate between things that appeal to my older son and things that appeal to the little girls. If somebody does not like what has been chosen, they can go read in their room). When I tell them it’s time to turn it off, they must turn it off immediately, even if they’re not done with the movie.
Our habit is to watch a movie a day, in the dinner-making hour. So it’s not just from 5 to 6, it’s usually more like 4:15 to 6, and they get to finish the whole movie. We don’t have cable, so they aren’t seeing any commercials, but we do have Netflix and Amazon prime for them to watch movies on.
This is how I manage. I have phases where I really wish that my kids were TV-free during the week. But it’s just not realistic for me. With kids quiet in the living room with a movie, dinner prep becomes more peaceful and enjoyable for me, allowing me to greet my husband with a smile instead of a groan and a crying baby, and that pay-off is totally worth it.