Preparing for the Evening Peak Hour (and win a copy of my book!)

Thank you to everyone who entered and for the wonderful, supportive comments left. The lucky winner was Nicole T!
As you may have noticed the Planning With Kids book is beginning to make its way out into the big wide world! If you placed a pre-order on the blog, you should have a copy and subsequent orders will be on their way after Easter. By May 1st the book which is published by Wright Books should be available in book stores!

Today I am very excited to run an extract from the book which looks at how my husband and I manage our relationship in the midst of the sometimes crazy evening peak hour.

Before I go to the extract I wanted to also copy this paragraph from the acknowledgements. I have many people to thank for helping and supporting me with the book, especially YOU!

To the readers of, thank you so very, very much. The book wouldn’t exist without you. Your loyal visits to the blog showed me that people wanted to read what I had written!

Thanks for reading the blog and for all your encouraging words and support.

Preparing for the evening peak hour (p. 187 – 189)

It helps for parents to work as a team, especially at times when not doing so can have a big impact on family harmony. One of these times is the peak-hour evening rush. Research shows that the first hour after the second parent arrives home in the evening is a high-risk time for disagreement and conflict between parents. This can increase the stress levels of the family by flowing on to the kids.

Inspired by the research, over the past year I’ve made a conscious effort to set aside any negative comments or complaints for the first hour after my husband comes home. This has made a big difference to how the rest of the evening flows.

In the past, in the heat of rush hour, I’ve been known to vent the first moment my husband walks through the door. An example is if I’d asked him to fix a kitchen cupboard, and he hadn’t yet had a chance to do it. Before he came home, I’d spend considerable time trying to get the equipment I needed for preparing dinner out of the cupboard. Meanwhile, the older children may start to fight and the toddler may cry incessantly because he’s tired and wants to be held. All these factors converge, and I see the cupboard as the main cause of the situation, which — of course — it isn’t.

When my husband walks in the door, I’m still frustrated over the situation so I blurt out to him within the first few minutes that I ‘wasted 15 minutes on the cupboard and doing so caused all sorts of other annoying things to happen’. He feels attacked and is on guard from the moment he arrives home. The kids pick up on this bad vibe and may choose to talk about the negative aspects of their day rather than focusing on the fun things that happened. The evening peak-hour rush is descending further into negativity.

Nowadays our evening routine looks more like this:

  • My husband arrives home.
  • He has a general chit-chat with the kids.
  • We get the kids off to bed.
  • We have an adult-only discussion about the big and the small issues.

By changing my approach and choosing not to talk about an issue until later in the evening, we’re experiencing far less conflict during our evening routine. This doesn’t mean I don’t communicate my frustration or unhappiness to my husband, but it means I’m choosing the best time and a calmer approach. In reality, in our house it’s often much longer than an hour before I get a chance to talk about whatever is bothering me. By then my frustration has dissipated and I can talk about it more calmly. Quite often I don’t even bother bringing it up. With the heat out of the situation, I realise it really wasn’t such a big deal after all.

This approach requires commitment from my husband too. If he arrives home to a house that looks like a cyclone has blazed a path through it, he realises it’s not wise to comment — even in jest — as there’s a fair chance I won’t see the humour, and this could start the evening off on a negative note.