Managing the witching hour

The witching hour can start without warning and is often longer than an hour! The calm, quiet baby or toddler you once had turns into a crying inconsolable child in no time at all, usually around the same time every day. So what can you do?
The witching hour can start without warning and is often longer than an hour!

Often during the witching hour, the calm, quiet baby or toddler you had a few minutes ago turns into a crying inconsolable child in no time at all, usually around the same time every day.

Our helpful tips on managing the witching hour will help see you through this challenging time of the day.

Managing the witching hour


What is the witching hour?

For some, the witching hour happens around late afternoon or evening mealtime, for others it’s later in the evening, in the middle of the night or early hours of the morning. Whatever the time of day, your little one will cry and cry and nothing seems to help soothe them.

Unfortunately there’s no quick fix to the witching hour! You try anything you can think of to comfort your child, often to no avail.

The best thing to do is accept that the witching hour meltdowns are quite normal and put steps in place to make life a little easier for yourself.

The main reason for the change in your child is because they are tired after a day of stimulation. The end of the day is naturally a time of low physical energy and all this tumult is too much for them.

So what can you do?

9 Tips on Managing the Witching Hour


1. Stay positive

  • Remember the witching hour is quite normal and it will pass!

2. Stay calm

  • The most important thing for parents to do during the witching hour is remain calm, even if it is much easier said than done.

3. Be prepared

  • Prepare dinner in advance, ask for help if you need it and know what you’ll do when the witching hour kicks in.

4. Be available

  • It won’t take long for you to recognise a pattern. Usually there’s a certain time of day that everyone is feeling tired and stressed, so this is often when the witching hour begins.
  • Free up your schedule to make sure you’re available at that time of day. If you’re feeling rushed or distracted by other duties, then this will only make matters worse.

5. Don’t take it personally

  • It’s not something you’re doing or not doing. Most babies and toddlers have a witching hour at some stage during their development.

6. Get some fresh air

  • Sometimes one or both of you could do with some fresh air during the witching hour. That may be a long, brisk walk or a casual stroll around the neighbourhood, even moving around the house with them from room to room is a good distraction.

7. Playing music

  • Playing music during the witching hour has a dual purpose. The first is to create an atmosphere to soothe both the parents and the baby or toddler. The other is to help drown out the constant wailing.
  • It doesn’t matter what kind of music you play, so you needn’t torture yourself with soothing lullabies unless that’s something that works.

8. Look for distractions

  • Besides music, during the witching hour, use whatever you can as a distraction. Sometimes you just have to wait for your baby to slowly calm down, so it helps to have something to occupy your time.

9. Have patience

  • Although it may seem like it at the time, these witching hour episodes won’t last forever. The daily episodes will eventually diminish and the phase will come to an end.

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