With Elle's schedule at school, she's been so tired in the evenings that just getting in the door and settled is about all the time I have before she's ready for bed. She's unhappy by 6 and a solid overtired mess by 6:30. It's a very short window that I have to get her fed before she's just too tired to care.
In addition, our previous evenings included a small snack and an episode of something Disney Jr related for Ali while I got dinner together. However, by the time we sat down to eat, she was also tired, and having just had a snack, not that hungry. Dinner was turning into an argument and tears every night with everyone exhausted and annoyed.
Clearly, this all needed to change.
So starting last week, and continuing this week, when we walk in the door in the evening, I sit both girls down immediately and get their dinner which I precooked on Sunday. The fridge is currently stocked with Chicken, sweet potato, peas and green beans. Yes, their dinners will be missing some variety, but I fix that with fresh raw veggies and fruit on the side. I am now able to get them both fed before 6:00.
At 6, I put Elle to bed. Then since Ali's already eaten too, so I turn on the evening episode of Dr McStuffins or Mickey Mouse while my husband and I eat. After that I snuggle on the couch with Ali to finish the little bit of tv left and then at 7 we go upstairs and start the bedtime routine for her. She's had a nice quiet evening and isn't leaving the table to go directly upstairs anymore. She's in bed by 7:30, and everyone's much happier.
It definitely takes some prep on my end and having the dinner's done already but between being on time to work more often than not, and having calm evenings with both girls, the prep seems completely worth while and hopefully I'll maintain this for a while.