Running on Empty Early Evening

Like it? Share it!

The Wood For the Trees


Give yourself the luxury of taking time-out to actually look at your family life and think about the positive, simple and yet effective changes you can make to back control of you’re “running on empty early evenings”

If you can take control in small ways you reduce your stress and feel better about your kids, your day and your life.

Stress Factors






Telephone calls


Stress Solutions

 What can you do to eliminate some of these stress starters?

E.g. Put the answer phone on; eat apricots at 4pm to keep your energy up rather than biscuits, let the kids watch TV for half an hour while you have a cup of tea; have their meal prepared etc……..

Be clearer in your instructions after school?

Make some very simple cards that say

My After School Routine

  1. Hang up my coat and put my school bag on the peg underneath
  2. Put my shoes away in the box
  3. Wash my hands
  4. Have my snack and drink
  5. Read my reading book to Mum/Dad/Grandma/ or do my homework
  6. Chill out time  – Computer Time is 20 minutes – Watch the clock

This will create a HABIT that is simple, quick and CONSISTENT and make everyone’s life easier IN THE LONG RUN  so persevere in the short term


Plan and imagine how your perfect early evening would go; remember, the routine you had when they were three may not serve you now – think out of the box, go mad, have fun.

Stop fire fighting and start planning!!


Take back control

 Bed Times


  • What’s your ultimate goal?
  • What’s happening now?
  • What small change could you make towards the ultimate goal?
  • What obstacles could get in the way?
  • How could you over come them?
  • What’s the biggest benefit to you if you change the routine at bedtime?
  • What difference will it make to you?
  • What’s the greatest thing to motivate you to make sure this happens?
  • What’s the greatest benefit to the children if you do this?


Use positive, specific language: “I want you to brush your teeth” rather than “stop mucking about in there!”

“Well done, you’re so quick tonight”

Catch them doing something right and quick to praise

What feelings do you want your child to fall asleep with? Now focus on how you can create that for them.

Think about the tone of your voice, how loudly you speak and how quickly?

Is your breathing shallow?

Is your body language tense?

Relax – smile and focus on what you want. Quietly, firmly but kindly. Persist – ignore the silly behaviour and praise the correct behaviour.

What time do you start the bedtime routine?

What would be the benefits to you if you started it earlier?

What ways can you speak to your child that is different from how you are doing it now?


Instead of      “Stop making a mess”


“Put all your Action Men in the drawer”

Instead of      “Stop getting out of bed”


I want you to stay in your bed and we’ll read a story together or have a chat.

You choose now you’re getting bigger”

Positive instructions work much better if you explain why, you are also increasing your child’s reasoning and intellectual skills.





Now have a go at changing these negative remarks into positive statements.

“Stop Arguing”

“Why is it always such a battle for you to read to me?”

“Don’t touch that!”

Most bad behaviour is attention seeking. So why not give your kids the attention they are craving – whether you agree with whether they deserve it or not – they are looking for it. But why not try turning it into the positive kind of attention. You can never actually love your child too much. Just choose how you handle it. See it as your next challenge or new game!!!

Write in your journal what went well and reward yourself: your favourite TV soap, glass of wine, foam bath, watch a film, have a chat on the phone, read a book, watch footie, have an early night, spend quality time with your partner – you choose.Don’t just keep going – your not an ever ready battery!!!  Don’t let yourself feel overwhelmed. There’s just so much everyone can achieve in a day.

This stops you feeling guilty and ending the day feeling negative about your efforts.

Try to end the day feeling “blessed not stressed!!!”

Make the last 10 minutes of your bedtime routine truly lovely and do your Positive Parent Journal so you fall asleep in a positive frame of mind and sleep well and wake refreshed to start the next day positively.


Related Articles

The Sue Atkins

Parenting Show

Discussing every possible aspect of parenting, giving you advice and support on topics which affect your daily life. Each free, weekly episode is bursting with practical tips, techniques and ideas.

Hi, I'm Sue Atkins

I will teach you my no-nonsense, simple techniques & give you hundreds of my expert parenting articles, videos & podcasts so you can get back to the business of having fun with your family!

As Seen or heard in