Life is far too busy, and while many parents breathe a sigh of relief that the long summer break is over, we also wonder how we can possibly get everything done in the afternoons and after school that we need. An after school routine is very important to every family so that we can all: make sure all the papers get signed, supplies get purchased, homework gets done, family time together, extracurricular activities are attended and so that mornings can run more smoothly. Less mess in the mornings, but having a after school routine that works for your family also means less stress.
Every family is different, but there are a few basics to incorporate into your after school routine. You may need to create your own order and determine the amount of time you can spend on each tasks, but each one of these suggestions can save you and your children time and stress.
Creating an After School Routine: Homework Help
Review homework/school papers each night long before baths and bedtime. By then you and your children are tired and ready for bed, by reviewing early you are fresh, corrections can be made and you can move on with your evening.
Creating an After School Routine: Snack Time
Make time for snacks. Children are hungry when they come home. Avoid the rush to the kitchen for dinner minutes after walking in the door by taking time on the weekends to place nutritious snacks in plastic containers (avoiding Ziploc bags is good for the environment but whatever works for your family). You can include cheese and crackers, peanut crackers, fruits and vegetables and have them all ready to be eaten, cutting down on the rush to the kitchen after work or school. This also helps with providing an healthy snack before extracurricular activities.
Creating an After School Routine: Make Dinner a Family Affair
Involve the whole family in dinner preparations. Everyone can help, in my family even my 3 year old can help by placing silverware and napkins on the table. Use your crockpot whenever possible, there are tons of slow cooker recipes that aren’t soups and stews.
Creating an After School Routine: Cool Calendars Help You Stay on Schedule
Check the calendar and update it as needed. If your child comes home with a note about a special project due date or other date you need to know mark it on the calendar so you can plan ahead. A family calendar keeps everyone in touch with each other.
Creating an After School Routine: Family Time Fun
Spend some time together. Watch a show, play a game, whatever it takes. Even if it is turning off the radio and taking out the iPod buds and talking in the car, spend time together.
Creating an After School Routine: Be Prepared
No, this isn’t just a saying for Boy Scouts. Pack the backpack, lunches and set everything you need to walk out the door next to the door the night before. Lay out clothes for the next day. In my household we lay out two outfits as most mornings everyone has changed their mind. Two is my limit though.
Creating an After School Routine: Pack Lunches
At the beginning of the week go ahead and get a jump start on lunch packing with making sandwiches ahead of time and using those containers of snack items to make lunch packing quick and easy.
Creating an After School Routine: Don’t let chores be a bore
Create a chore chart. Include washing dishes and taking out trash. Assign one chore a day to keep the house going, and be sure to include a chore for mom and dad too.
Give lots of love, it only takes a minute to give a hug, stroke your child’s hair or kiss them good night. A parent’s love and support goes a long way towards making them feel loved, self confident and capable. Sure, it’s important that all these after school “chores” are accomplished, but I would rather stay up a few minutes longer to pack lunch and be able to show my children love and affection each evening.
Rewards and positive reinforcement throughout the evening can make all these tasks run that much smoother. I know it’s a lot to get done every night, especially with more than one child and limited time. But in the end making sure to put a “check” next to each of these afterschool routine matters can make evenings and mornings go that much smoother.
For more help with Back to School read: Back to School Healthy Tips for Parents and Kids
To create your own chore chart try these to get you started
Free Microsoft Chore Chart Template Successful Family Chore Charts