It's astonishing how quickly the day disappears as soon as your kids get home from school. You might feel like you're often rushing to get ready for bed, just so that you can do it all over again. Thankfully, by creating an after-school routine for your children, you can help give kids the structure they need, teach them essential skills, and maybe even have time to relax before the day is through!
Make Afternoons Easier With After-School Checklists
One of the easiest ways to create an after-school routine that works for your family is to make individual checklists for your kids. This can quickly show them what needs to get done and the order that they should complete these tasks. This allows everyone to have the same windows of quiet and social times, which facilitates a better environment for completing school assignments.
For younger kids, an after-school schedule template can be a good choice. This gives them clear guidelines for when each task needs to be completed by and it helps them to quickly see what to plan for next. It also gives parents the option to fill in the specific chores their kids are responsible for that afternoon.
For slightly older kids, an after-school checklist is an easy way to remind them of the many things that need to get accomplished by the end of the night. However, this version gives them the latitude to complete tasks in the order that they see fit.
Key Tasks to Consider Including in Your Kid's After-School Routine
No matter how many extracurriculars that your kids may have, these tasks are solid options to think about including in their after-school routines. Depending on how many kids you have and when their sports practices or extracurriculars are, you can adjust timeframes and tasks to fit your family.
Get Situated for Afternoon Activities
Teaching kids to put their things away after everyone hops out of the car or they get off the bus can be a good start to their afternoon routine. Take off shoes and jackets, unpack backpacks, and wash hands. If they bring a meal to school, kids can also empty their lunch bag and put items that need washing in the sink at this time.
What dry goods do your kids bring in their lunches every day? Bottled water, chips, gummies, and fruits like bananas and oranges can all be restocked in their lunchboxes immediately after they unpack them. This can make the following morning much easier. It's also a simple task that any school-aged kid can be responsible for each day.
For older kids, this can also be the time that school notes, progress reports, permission slips, and important announcements are handed to mom or dad. Kids involved in sports can fork over athletic gear that needs immediate attention. This ensures that these tasks get completed in a timely manner.
Refuel the Body
Everyone thinks better on a full belly! Make sure that your kids get some brain-boosting foods when they get home from school to help them get through their homework! Snacks like whole grain avocado toast, berries, nuts, dark chocolate, and a glass of orange juice are all great options that with help them power through homework and tide them over until dinner.
Recharge the Mind
After a long day of learning at school, your kids likely need some time to let their minds shut off and recharge before starting on their homework. This can be easily accomplished by taking a purposeful break. This is where a person engages in activities that refresh their mind - spending time outdoors, meditating, reading or writing in a journal, drawing or coloring, or listening to music are all great options! However, social media, video games, and television don't fall into this category.
Parents can choose to make this a social time or they can implement quiet time where everyone finds independent activities to engage in silently. No matter which you choose, it's a good idea to aim for this break to last no more than an hour.
One of the best ways to make sure that at-home assignments get completed before a late hour is to have your kids do them early. Making homework a priority immediately after your kids have a chance to re-energize themselves can be part of the afternoon routine to keep the stress at bay. This also ensures that you are readily available to help with questions and concepts that they may be struggling with in thier assignments.
Once their schoolwork is done, have your kids complete their chores. Laundry, dishes, trash pickup, and tidying up their rooms can all be done before dinner.
Prepare for the Day Ahead
The last task of the afternoon can be to prepare for the next school day. For example, have your kids pick out their clothes and repack their backpacks. Older kids can also look up the forecast to make sure that they have the proper outwear ready to grab. This prep time can reduce the morning chaos.
Align Younger Kid's Schedules with Older Kid's After-School Activities
Older kids may also have extracurriculars like soccer practice, music lessons, football games, and so on. These activities can impact the routine of younger siblings who have to tag along, so make sure that you plan their schedules accordingly.
The last thing you want is for your 8-year-old to sit down to study, only to have to get up 15 minutes later. This break in concentration can make it hard to complete certain assignments in a timely manner when you return home. Therefore, adjust their schedules on the days that you know will be busy.
Also, if your 8-year-old's homework hour is from 5PM to 6PM, let your 12-year-old daughter know that practicing her clarinet should be done at a different time. Trying to have all of your kid's schedules aligned as well as possible can help everyone focus and finish tasks efficiently.
Can't line up your kids' schedules? Invest in noise-canceling headphones so that your kids can complete tasks as they see fit, without disturbing their siblings.
After-School Routines Keep Everyone on Schedule
After-school routines provide structure, they teach responsibility and time management, and they help to ensure good study habits. If you find your kids do best when a plan is in place, then also check out LoveToKnow's morning routines and bedtime routines for kids!