Those few hours before dinnertime can be anything but fun. Kids are often overtired, hyper, and cranky. You're exhausted. And everybody's hungry. It's natural for tempers to flare and parents to lose their patience.
It often helps to establish a late-afternoon routine. Whether your kids are just home from school or childcare, or have spent the day with you, offer them a healthy snack if dinnertime is far off. Then, give them time for active play to help channel some of that extra energy. Suggest playing outside or put on some music and let them jump and dance and move around.
If you've spent most of the day away from your kids, they're probably craving some quality "mommy" time. In that case, set aside some time to spend with your kids. Doing prep work for dinner earlier in the day (or the night before) might make this easier to do. Ask your child to choose an activity that you can do together, whether it's reading aloud, playing a game, or just talking. Giving kids your full attention now will make it easier on you in the long run. They'll be less demanding of your time when you have to devote your energy to cooking a meal.
After the kids have released some of that energy, try to have them wind down before dinner. Active play can be followed by quiet time, which may include reading, doing homework, or playing nicely with siblings or alone.
To read more of the original article from KidsHealth.org please click on the link: http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/dinnertime_stress.html