For keeping the household in harmony, and especially keeping our own sanity as parents, it’s important to create and develop an after-school routine now that the kids are heading back to school.
I have always loved having a routine. Being a mom with five kids has helped me learned that this is important, or I wouldn’t be able to keep track and help my kids accomplish all their after-school activities. As a parent, we all want to ensure our kids are able to enjoy and attending their activities and excel in their schoolwork.
Not only is an after-school routine great for keeping the household in order and keeping us parents insane, but children need structure and order. It helps them flourish in many ways as they grow up and become adults.
It might feel like there is a lot that needs to be done before the end of the day, but you can easily design your own after-school routine that works for the entire family. You may have to tweak your routine from time to time as stuff happens when the unexpected occurs.
Set the Tone
Greeting your kids with a smile when you pick them up from school or from the bus can set the tone for your after-school time. Your kids will love seeing a happy face on you when they come home.
Provide a Snack
After school is usually when kids are hungry since it’s been a couple hours after their school lunchtime. Offer the kids a snack that is light and healthy. It’s a great time to chat with them about their day at school and what they have learned. Most of the time they will want to tell you all about their day and what they did.
After a good break and getting a snack in their belly, it’s a good time to get started on the homework. Depending on what grade your child is in, your kid might need a longer “brain break” depending on how intense their school days are.
It’s always been my belief that homework is a priority one whenever possible, especially since the information is fresh in their minds. There are several things you can do to ensure a successful homework time within your after-school routine:
- Set up a school station where the kids can complete their homework. Make it appeal so it motivates them to settle into their own special spot that is comfy and customizable to complete their assignments.
- Consider their learning style. Does your child do well when they are in a quiet environment, such as their bedroom with the door closed? Does your child perform well in more noisier areas of the home, such as the kitchen and family room?
- Get ideas from your children by asking about a location and suggestions to making their school station appealing and functional to their learning needs. You can encourage them to decorate with their favorite things—hang up pictures or posters and decorate in their favorite colors. Have them organize their own space too with school supplies.
- Turn off the electronics when they are doing schoolwork as this can be distracting. This includes the TV and phones. Electronics should only be on or used if needed for their homework.
Get the family to meet and discuss scheduling any after-school activities. You will want to work in activities that are important to you, such as dinner as a family or participating in extra-curricular activities.
Make a list detailing what your children want to participate in. It can be sports, church functions, or anything that includes a hobby they love to do. The best way to keep it all organized is creating a family calendar. You can label each family member with a different color. Make sure you also put down events associated with these activities, you might have practices, games, rehearsals and recitals to attend to.
It’s always good to hold a weekly family meeting to discuss the events coming up so everyone is in the loop. Make adjustments along the way to make an after-school routine that works for your family specifically.
Don’t Forget About Playtime
Giving your kids some playtime can really help them burn off some energy and give their brains a break. Sometimes the kids will need it before they do their homework to better help them focus.
Schedule Down Time
Making a downtime right before bed can really help prepare your kids for the night. Bedtime routines can include reading as it can help build your children to be a strong reader. It even helps induce sleep. Be sure to turn off any electronics to help your children focus on relaxing. Your child might even like to have a bath or shower before bedtime.
Sleep is a Priority
Sleep is critical for everyone in the family. Everyone is in a better mood when they get enough sleep the night before. It’s also important for the health and development of both adults and kids!
Talk to the School
Be sure to reach out to your children’s school and teacher if there are any signs of struggling. Schools often have great resources to help your child out or if they need to cut down on some homework expectations.
Remember that creating an after-school routine is finding out what works best for you and your family. What works for one family might not work for yours. It will be a trial and error process to find the routine that works for everyone in the end.