The school bell signals the start of what can be a chaotic series of events. For many, there are so many distractions and so much to get done before tired heads hit soft pillows, it’s important to have an after school routine. Here are a few quick solutions, which will help to reduce what can be a stressful few hours.
Everything has its place – put things away without delay
In the mad dash through the door, school bags will be thrown, jackets dropped and shoes kicked off anywhere and everywhere. Sound familiar? This is bound to add an element of stress to any organized mum. Set up a designated area, preferably with a hook, to house clothing and backpacks.
Have your kids to take their lunch bags to the kitchen. Drink bottles too. You’ll even find they drag out parent must-see newsletters.
Healthy snacks – pre-prepared finger food for easy eating
With little tummies grumbling, have a healthy snack ready to offer. After-school snacks can be sliced fruit, or cheese and biscuits. Whilst you may be tempted to treat your child with a sweet surprise, it could result in a sugar rush and the resulting mood swings, coupled with a tired child, may tip everyone over the edge.
Communication – it’s a two way street
The question “What did you do at school today?” can receive a multitude of answers depending on the age of your child.
New to school kids will be full of enthusiasm and happily share every minute detail. Betty took my pencil. Sam looked at me funny. I didn’t get a turn to play. Older kids are more inclined to grunt out “nothing”.
Regardless of the reply, asking open questions will generate conversation. “What was the funniest thing that happened today?” or “Show me something you learned at school.”
Take time to genuinely show interest and focus on their responses. Continue over dinner so the whole family can get involved.
Set up a homework station
When homework is a necessity, ensure kids you have a place dedicated to them for the time they need it. Doesn’t need to be a desk. A corner of the kitchen bench can work perfectly that way you are in earshot if they need help.
After-school activities – add another element to your schedule
Your routine will take another twist when after school activities start. Consider limiting to one or two per term and take into account travel time as it can also impact the rest of the family especially when weekends are involved.
Family meals – preparation is the key
Dinner in your household needs to work for you. Whether you prepare meals in advance and freeze them, love the simplicity of your slow cooker or prefer to create a meal on the fly based on what is left in the fridge, make sure it works for you. The less time in the kitchen the better.
End the day with a good bedtime routine
Ending the day with a good bedtime routine goes a long way to ensuring the following morning starts well. After a bath, brush teeth then hop into PJs and head to bed for a book or a cuddle.
Routines give everyone a sense of continuity and help us wind down after a busy day. Consider these ideas and create something that works for you and your family. Once your routine is in place, your family will be less frazzled. Guarantee it.
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