3 Simple Ways to Save a Bad Day

I’m a mom raising four daughters. We’re a homeschool family so we’re home together nearly 24/7.  Everyone who finds out we have four girls says something along the lines of, “How do you deal with all the emotions?”

What do we do on those days when nothing is going right or emotions are getting the best of us or it’s just not a good day? I’m not an expert, of course. Our oldest is not quite 13. But we have survived our fair share of bad days.
3 simple ways to save a bad day

There are three simple things one or more family member might need in moments (or days) like this:

  1. Snack

  2. Sleep

  3. Shower

One or more of those things, in various combinations, will fix most problems.

Save a Bad Day with a Snack

So, if tempers are short, we first check and see if we forgot to eat. Maybe we got up earlier than usual and we need to move lunch up. Or maybe we just need some 10 AM crackers and peanut butter. Or maybe mom got busy on a project and didn’t realize that it’s now 12:30PM and lunch hasn’t magically appeared. (I’m ridiculously guilty of this one.)

Save a Bad Day with Sleep

If it’s not food, it might be sleep. The night before could have been restless, or someone had a virus and they’re not back to 100%, or someone had a bad dream, or we stayed out too late. A naptime could help fix the issue. At the very least a “quiet time” lets each family member retreat and recharge (oh so important when you have an introvert – or more than one – in the family.)

Homeschool advice here: if you’re really butting heads with one of your children on schoolwork, put it away. Live the rest of the day, get some rest, and try again the next day. The textbook will still be there but hopefully the attitude won’t. Sometimes things just need to be set aside. Let the day go on, get a good sleep that night, and see if things aren’t better in the morning.

Save a Bad Day with a Shower

And if it’s not food or rest, you or one of your family members might just need a shower. I used to feel guilty about taking a 3 PM shower. I don’t any more.

3 PM is when I drag. My temper gets short. If I really need a break, a shower is a good way to get it. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t do their best thinking in the shower, right? So, I might not be the only family member who needs a mid-afternoon shower, why would a pre-teen or teen be any different?

If you have grouchy little ones, never underestimate the power of a bathtime with toys or bubbles or just to soak. You could add whatever you like to jazz it up (I like to add some Epsom salts for anyone who’s achy and tired but not quite sick). The novelty of having a bath during daylight hours may be enough to cheer up some grouchy souls.

One More “S” to Save a Bad Day

I’m deeply indebted to Susan Wise Bauer for pointing out these strategies during a session at the Great Homeschool Convention. I knew a snack and sleep could be powerful, but I hadn’t thought of about showers. I knew I sometimes needed an afternoon shower, but it hadn’t occurred to me that it was a reasonable attitude adjustment.

If I was to add one more “S” it would be: sun. Sometimes everyone just needs to go outside. I’ve noticed our tempers get a little shorter on the drearier days. Outside can be a great option, even if the sun isn’t shining.  That’s why rainboots and umbrellas were invented, right?

What are your favorite strategies for saving a bad day?

3 simple ways to save a bad day

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  1. Yes to the sun! Going outside seems to fix everything for us. Perhaps in part because it forces us (okay, me) to take a step back and stop trying to get things done and just focus on my kids.

  2. Food, Hugs, and Put People in Water. That works around here. Usually food. Sometimes a stern talk, THEN a hug. Sometimes chucking everyone outside so I can lie on the couch before dinner.

  3. Well! I cannot say that I have EVER thought of a 3 p.m. shower! (That IS usually the time of the day I start to drag though.)

    If it comes to a personal pick-me-up (usually at 3!) then it’s a glass of caffeine and a power nap.

    Several of my boys are currently playing in the bathtub together though right now and that’s a nice, happy way to end the day. :)

  4. Oh yes, showers are a great idea! I know for me, showers are very relaxing. A quiet time is also a great thing…especially for us introverts. :)

  5. Yes. It’s only 11am here, and I think all the kids need at least 2 of the 3…

  6. I love this. Thank you. I especially needed the reminder to put the books away and try again the next day.

  7. Is it bad that I usually have to apply these to myself? ;) I definitely get cranky if I don’t eat, and I am often guilty of staying up too late. That never makes for a good day =( I also need the reminder to put the books away when a lesson is going poorly. Today was an eerily good day for my kids (my son struggles with his attitude usually, but was super helpful, positive, and agreeable today!) I’ll have to think a bit and see what might have helped that to happen!

    • It’s not bad at all – I have to do the same things. I’m especially bad about losing my temper when I get hungry. “Sorry for those mean things I said out of hunger” is a standard joke between my husband and me. :)

  8. Love all your ideas, and yes the shower in the afternoon DOES work wonders, for mom anyway ;-) Having one girl (now off to college) and three boys still at home, we practice these methods often, usually it’s the food!!! Can. Never. Keep. The. Fridge. Stocked!!!! Would love to follow you on FB, but your link isn’t working :( Happy to have found you through Everyday Snapshots – God Bless!

    • I can see the food thing becoming even more important in our future. Our little guy (only 1) already eats as much as some of our girls!

      Thanks for letting me know about the broken link. The button (at the very top right of the page, for those of you who haven’t seen it) should be working now. For anyone who happens to be reading this in email or on a reader here’s the Facebook page:

  9. Karen, I know your original post is more than a year old, but I just had to add another “s”. Snuggling. I know some people mentioned hugs, but snuggling is better. I loved chucking the schoolwork when I was feeling rotten and getting in bed with a pile of books and then snuggling in with two, three, or four kids draped over and around me and reading until my voice was gone or I started to fall asleep so much that the kids got impatient!…or I had to fix a meal. Snuggling is wonderful for days where the weather is bad and you just don’t feel like coping with the muddy boots and drippy coats.