Most kids need a regular schedule. They get this during the day at school, but what about when they get home? You will want to develop your own after-school routine that your kids can follow. Trust me; you will be thankful you did.
There is a lot of great information out there to help make your morning routine go more smoothly. However, what about after school? The kids come bursting through the front door, and then chaos seems to begin. There are shoes, backpacks, homework, and snacks. It all can quickly drive mom insane!
The trick is to create an effective after-school routine or schedule. When you have one, everyone knows what to do and can help keep a good rhythm running in your house. Of course, you may need to tailor this to each child, depending upon age and maturity. Even my own kids are different. That means the way I run our daily routine differs a bit for each of them.
AFTER SCHOOL SCHEDULE
No matter your child’s age, there are things each of them can do. For us, it is simple, they have three things they need to do the minute they walk through the door:
PUT YOUR BACKPACK WHERE IT BELONGS
The first thing to get kids in the habit of after coming home from school is putting away backpacks. Find a designated spot in your house where your child’s backpack will “live.” It could be a hook on the wall, in the hall closet, or on the floor by the entryway. In our house, my kids put their backpacks on the bench in our hallway.
PUT YOUR SHOES WHERE YOU CAN FIND THEM
To make the morning more efficient, have your child take his or her shoes off, along with any belongings, and set them near their backpack or another place. That way, there is no rushing around the morning to find that sneaker that is hiding beneath their bed.
GRAB AN AFTER-SCHOOL SNACK
Kids are usually hungry when they come walking through the door. Have a snack basket filled with “mom-approved” snacks ready for them.
SCHEDULE SOME DOWNTIME
Whether it is right when they get home or later in the evening, give your kids some free play time. It may mean playing outside, watching one TV program, or limited time on a tablet. Kids need a chance to do what they want each day. I personally like having downtime after snack time, and I try to limit devices to try and sneak in a few minutes to check in and see how their day went.
As adults, we need a break after a long day, and our little ones are no different.
COMPLETE YOUR HOMEWORK
For some families, kids must do their homework as soon as they walk through the door after school. For others, it happens after dinner time. There is no right or wrong time to do your homework. Find the time that works best for your family.
If there isn’t an activity, I’m a big fan of getting the homework folder out as soon as they come home to check homework assignments to gauge how much time to set aside, plus check if there are any important papers to send back or class events happening tomorrow that need attention.
PACK TOMORROWS LUNCH
Afternoons can be difficult balancing homework, activities, and getting everything prepared for the next day, but if your kid is taking their lunch to school, packing a lunch bag the night before is a great way to cut down on it stress the following morning.
DO YOUR CHORES
Kids have things they need to do each day. It might be cleaning their room, unloading the dishwasher, or taking out the trash. It may also include helping with dinner by setting the table and doing the dishes. It can be helpful to keep a list of chores displayed so your child knows what he or she has to do each day.
The above is a guide. You know your kids and your family’s routine. There may be days when you have practice or games that throw your after-school schedule out of balance. Those are the days when you may need to be more flexible. It might be the day of the week when they get to skip the chores to allow more time for homework.
While this is all great, it is good to help teach your kids how to do this themselves. My kids are very visual. They will do everything they see on a sign or a list much more frequently than they do if they have to remember on their own (or even if mom has to tell them).
AFTER SCHOOL ROUTINE CHECKLIST DOWNLOAD
The printable checklist is a simple way to help kids remember what they need to do when they get home from school and make mom’s life a little easier. We have ours hanging up in our pantry. This way, they see it when they grab their snack, so they remember everything they need to do.
Get your Free After School Routine Chart
It really makes our afternoons so much better! Here are ways to help ensure your kids use this after-school checklist:
- Laminate and attach it to the refrigerator with adhesive magnets.
- Put it in a photo frame and use a dry-erase marker for them to check it off daily.
- Print out copies and give them a new one to use every single day (I’d print in black and white to save money on printer ink).
Whatever you do, try to set a routine for your kids. They need to know what comes next, and it really helps reduce stress (and even tears)!!