Evenings can be the most stressful time of the day. Everyone is tired and hungry, everyone needs attention and all you want to do is sit down and put your feet up.
1. Evenings can go bad as you step out of the office. So always make sure you are not hungry or thirsty when you leave work. Have a late afternoon snack and a drink. Keep a bottle of water in the car or your hand bag.
2. Don’t get side tracked into conversations after work either with colleagues, or childminders, unless you have scheduled in the time and the discussions are important.
3. Make sure you don’t have to stop for petrol, or food for the evening meal unnecessarily. Do this in the morning or at lunchtime even if you have to make a special journey.
4. Have kids CDs in the car. Also make sure you have a few toys kept especially to occupy kids in the car.
5. After work don’t answer the phone unless it is important. Call back once the children are in bed. People will get to know this and avoid ringing you early evening.
6. Have a menu plan for the week – or even for just a couple of days a week if you find menu plans difficult. Have the same meal every week on more challenging days, or when the kids have after school activities.
7. Have food which can be oven cooked which you don’t have to stay in the kitchen to check on. Jacket potatoes, casseroles. Slow Cookers are also a great addition to a busy household at dinner time.
8. Use the oven timer. Not just to let you know when dinner is ready, but to make sure you don’t over run on particular activities, or bedtime.
9. Don’t turn the television on until the kids are in bed, this will stop you getting sucked into whatever happens to be on TV.
10. Get the kids to help you with the chores.
11. Put them in the bath before dinner, or change bath or shower time to mornings if they are not grubby.
12. Do prep for tomorrow’s dinner today.
13. Ask your organised friends what are their tips to salvage some time in the evening.
Evening may always be busy but they don’t always need to be stressful. By managing your evenings and following at least some of the above tips you will avoid fire fighting your way through each evening and that can only make even busy evenings more enjoyable.