It is perfectly normal to feel hungry around 5 pm, right?
5 pm to me does not imply more snacks are imminent. Snacks are supposed to tie you over to dinner, rather than fill you up. A snack is available for my kids after school. They should, theoretically, be able to hold off on eating after snack time and before dinner.
Feeling hungry at around 5 o’clock should, theoretically, trigger the following actions instead of reaching for more snacks. Actions that would promote food to appear on the dinner table quicker, perhaps? Here’s a few activities that would be helpful:
- set the table
- toss a salad
- cut up some vegetables
- find mom and ask what’s up (you know, a little concern at my absence during a high energy time of afternoon might have been nice…)
Instead, this happened last week:
I fed them a decent snack when they got home from school around 3:30ish. I felt tired and sluggish, and thought I might go lie down for a little while.
It had been a long day of running around for me. I had several left-over items in the fridge that I could throw together for a home-cooked meal that night. I wasn’t worried about having to cook something from scratch, most of the meal was in a ‘re-heat an serve’ state.
Perfect, I thought. I can take a bit of a break while they do the same.
At 5:30 pm I emerge out of the bedroom. The scenario I was presented with was the following:
Oldest kid is plugged into his tablet with his headset on, parked on the couch.
Youngest kid is at the table, eyes on SpongeBob or some other stupidity on tv, spooning cereal into her mouth.
Partner is sitting opposite her busy plugging away at his laptop.
I look around.
Kids schoolbags are tossed on the bench in the hallway. No lunch containers seem visible to me. Did they unpack, wash and put away their lunch as is expected of them? (Unlikely…)
There was no evidence of school books or papers anywhere indicating that homework was in progress, or completed.
I stood in the middle of the room and visually took in my family. It’s quite possible I glared at them.
First I addressed the girl child: “Why are you eating now, it’s almost dinner time!”
My partner looked up. “She was hungry…starving…” (Translation: he was busy, she started whining, he gave her cereal.)
“Did you get your homework done?”
Where is your lunch container? Did you empty it, wash it and put it away?
I was not impressed.
I admit it. I had a bit of a meltdown. At this age, and with this many years in elementary school, I fail to see why I have to continue to supervise every minutiae of their after school activity. I have outlined and supervised the expectations after school for years now. At one point it was written out and posted to the wall (which they ignored).
WHAT IS GOING ON?
Hunger should not have resulted in cereal…not to mention that homework should have been completed by now.
My absence should not have induced a reaching for an electronic toy.
They’re allowed to relax for a bit after school. They get to eat a snack, watch some cartoons, play outside, whatever. There is a cut off time for tv after school. At some point prior to dinner, homework is to be started. AFTER putting their lunch bags away.
At no time did I allow tablets or other electronics during the school week. They all know that.
Daddy is exempt from this rule. He is WORKING, not looking at race car video games or whatever.
Seems I still have to supervise minutiae after school. Sigh.