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Magical Solutions for the Witching Hour

Dear Debbie, It’s 5pm and my three kids are driving me insane. How can I save my sanity during the “witching hours?”

Dear Debbie,

It’s 5pm and my three kids are driving me insane. How can I save my sanity during the “witching hours?”

The Wicked Witch of Missouri

Dear Wicked Witch,

Here are a few magical ideas to make the witching hours--the ones between 4 and 7 pm when they need you and you need a spa--more angelic:

•Indulge yourself. No one’s happy if momma ain’t happy. Late afternoon is the perfect time to savor that fully-leaded coffee, piece of chocolate or other sin of choice.

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•Make use of the bathtub. It’s not just for washing anymore. Bubbles, shaving cream, plastic cups, sponges, or water paints buy lots of whine-free time.

•Get outside. A nature walk, sidewalk chalk, a game of catch, or a few minutes on a bike let off cranky energy.

•Skip family dinner; have family dessert. Waiting until Dad comes home can push the limits of kid-sized stomachs. Feed the troupes early, get them ready for bed, and let them eat dessert when you dine later--with everyone in a better mood.

•Read a book. Why save books for bedtime? Reading, either together or alone, slows the pace of a hectic day.

•Put on festive music. Something jumpy, something fun, anything to set a fun mood.

•Do something shocking. Crazy hat afternoon. Inside-out clothing only. No forward walking allowed. Shake things up with a funny rule for the challenging hours of the day.

•Resign yourself to the floor. A few minutes of uninterrupted play with mommy stops their shirt-pulling and lets you feel less guilty when you escape to make dinner, return phone calls, or shut the door to the bathroom.


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Dear Debbie

"Dear Debbie" is a column dedicated to answering your questions about how to better handle the everyday struggles of life with children. She'll tackle anything-from tantrums and potty training to dealing with playground politics and post partum depression. Send your questions to:

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