Mom of three and former eighth grade teacher Jessi Meeks invented "Whatever Makes You Happy Hour" for her young kids
Getting your kids to settle down can be a Herculean task. Getting them to do so when they have those post-nap zoomies and you're trying to catch up with your husband at the end of the day can be even more daunting.
Instead of trying to wrangle her kids into doing something they don't want to do and forcing them to pipe down, mom of three and former eighth-grade teacher Jessi Meeks is fully leaning in.
Now a stay-at-home mom, Meeks came up with what she calls "Whatever Makes You Happy Hour" for her three tots, and it seems to work for her.
In a video posted on TikTok, Meeks explains that during "Whatever Makes You Happy Hour," her children — Cannon, 5, Baker, 4, and Sophie, 2, — are literally allowed to do whatever makes them happy, whether that's chugging juice boxes or doing an art project. The upside for Whatever Makes You Happy Hour is that she and her husband Tyler get some time alone, while the kids are engaged in an enjoyable activity for themselves as well.
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"Whatever-Makes-You-Happy hour started very organically," Meeks tells PEOPLE. "When my husband would get home from work, the kids would have so much energy and would be bouncing off the walls. He and I would be trying to have a conversation to talk about our days and it was nearly impossible."
"One day I set up an easy activity outside with just a cardboard box and some paint around the time my husband would get home from work. When [he got home], our kids were having so much fun painting, we were actually able to talk and carry on a conversation."
Her oldest son then asked if he could paint his hands, which evolved to painting their bodies and before they knew it, the kids were covered. Noticing how engaged they were, Jessi and her husband Tyler Meeks decided to carry out Whatever Makes You Happy Hour from then on.
On any given day, Whatever Makes You Happy Hour can consist of a range of activities.
"I’ll put out some cardboard boxes and paint, a simple sensory bin, markers, stickers, etc. When the weather permits, we are always outside so they can be as messy as they want without destroying the house," says Jessi.
And while allowing kids to have free reign can be risky business, Jessi assures it's been more helpful than harmful. Cleaning up isn't an extra chore given the fact that Cannon, Baker and Sophie mostly choose outdoor activities. If they're inside and get too messy, Jessi says the trio understands they have to be on hand to help with clean up.
As a stay-at-home mom and former teacher, she firmly believes that "embracing this crazy time of the day instead of working against it helps everyone be happier."
Since Jessi's kids are still young, it's important to note that Whatever Makes You Happy Hour isn't about letting her little ones run amok senselessly, but about "letting them do an activity the way they want to do it with very little direction and intervention."
"We are very much a family unit, so wherever me and my husband are, the kids are there too! WMYHH is something we all enjoy. My husband and I really enjoy watching them be silly, play, laugh, explore, etc., while also being able to talk to each other. If they start to do anything dangerous or outrageously messy, we would obviously step in and redirect them. We don’t let them hang from the rafters."
As chaotic as Whatever Makes You Happy Hour can get, Jessi and Tyler plan on continuing the daily routine as long as it works for everyone. "If behavior becomes an issue, or they start becoming purposefully destructive, we will definitely stop," she explains.
"Right now it’s a great way to get quality family time in, allow our kids to get their last-minute energy out and allow time for them to explore and play the way they want."
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Read the original article on People.