Secrets From a Preschool Teacher :Calming the Little Darlings Down

It’s 4:15 pm.  There’s a certain anxious energy hanging in the air like smoke.  You know at any minute all hell is going to break loose because there’s something odd about that magic hour or so between 4:30 and 5:30.  I like to call it “The Witching Hour”, and it’s the time of day when my kids go from decently behaved to absolutely flipping nuts.

Those little darlings are virtually unrecognizable as they throw tantrums in the kitchen floor, they shout what they’re not going to do and then continue by shouting how they don’t care how you feel about it.  They make a mess and when you politely ask them to clean it up; they look at you as if you have three heads and then take off in another direction to cause more pandemonium.

And of course, this is the time of day when you’re trying to get your house in order, the chores finished and food on the table – after all, you simply must make it appear that you do more than sit around eating Bon-Bons everyday.

If I’ve ever been desperate for help, it’s during this time of day – and it’s almost every day.  I wanted answers, so I went to an “expert”.  I thought of all the wonderful teachers my child has had, and how they almost effortlessly seemed to hold it all together, and then some.

One of those people was Tracy, a seasoned preschool teacher from Hoover.  Every day I watched as her warm heart filled the room and was reflected with gentle excitement in all those kid’s faces.  She seemed to have it all under control with her six, meanwhile my two were sometimes more than I thought I could handle. I asked for a few of her secrets and she told me – so naturally, I’m passing them on to you.

First up, I wanted to know how to calm things down in a hurry when all goes haywire.  “When everyone is running around crazy, I turn the lights off for a second, that usually gets them to stop and look at me,” said Tracy.  I can tell you that I’ve already added this one to my arsenal of “Mom tricks” and it works – unless it’s daytime, in a sunny room and then, well they just look at you like you’re some crazy person flicking the lights on and off.

Next, I wanted to find out a little about how to get their attention – because I can promise that at one point or another, I’ve tried almost everything.  Tracy said that distracting them with something different works great. “I think my number one tip for getting and keeping their attention is talking quietly. They really listen when I’m talking softly like I have a secret to tell them.  My number two tip is using an incentive such as a sticker or a stamp or even a small piece of candy such as a smarty. The fun thing about preschoolers is they don’t need much. I’m always amazed at how happy they are to receive one skittle or one sticker.”

Got any tricks you’d like to share? I know I’d love to hear them!  Until then, good luck during the Witching Hour!

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