How nice would it be to have kids that came home from school and did their homework peacefully? The hour after the kids come home is what I affectionately call “the witching hour.” They are hungry, full of energy and have little patience. To make this time of day a bit easier on everyone, I decided to change our after school routine a bit.
Remove the chaos from your afternoons with these simple tips!
Routine, routine, routine
I am really, really big on routines. They have had a life-changing affect on our family. Most kids are creatures of habit and ours are no exception.
When kids know what to expect from us it goes a long way in creating consistently good behavior. Your after school routine doesn’t have to be very detailed. It just needs to be something that you can duplicate *most* school day afternoons.
I say most because there will be days that things come up and we just have to roll with it.
Related Article: Create a Routine You Will Love
Create a homework station
There is nothing worse than sitting down to do homework and there isn’t a pencil or sheet of paper in sight! This is where a homework station comes in handy.
Our kids all do homework around the kitchen table so I made a portable supply caddy out of an old cleaning supplies caddy and some old pint sized mason jars! I just sit it right in the middle of our table and everyone can reach it.
I have also seen homework stations made with rolling carts and on a bookshelf. The caddy works well for us, I can easily hide it away in a cabinet and it isn’t another surface to clutter up.
Have a well-balanced snack
Our kids are so hungry when they get home from school. The very first thing we do in our after-school routine is have a nice snack. Nothing too big here because dinner is right around the corner.
A snack with a little protein, fat and carbohydrates is filling and will help keep their minds sharp for homework.
Some of our favorite combos are: hard-boiled eggs, apple slices and carrots, apples, cheese and popcorn, yogurt with granola and ham, cheese and crackers.
As you can probably tell our kids love cheese! 🙂
Related Article: Master School Day Mornings
Kids need to decompress after a long day at school. After having a snack they are allowed to go play for an hour.
Usually, they go out and play with the dogs or play basketball. If the weather is bad or its too cold out they like to play games, build with legos or color.
I used to make the kids do their homework right after they got off the bus just to “get it done.” However, this always made the after-school time very difficult.
Having a snack and a long playtime before sitting down to do homework makes things less stressful for us.
Be ready to give your kids all your attention
They haven’t seen you all day and although they might not realize it, they really missed you. So take the time to really listen to what they have to say after school. Kids that feel left out or ignored usually act out to get attention. One of my children is very sensitive to this.
Look them in the eyes and let them know that their voice matters. Bask in the joy that they even want to talk to you. One day it might not be so easy to get them to talk to you.
I like to get dinner prepped before the kids get home so I don’t have to do a bunch of kitchen stuff while they are vying for my attention.
Having things chopped and waiting makes it a little easier for the kids to help with dinner too.
Our After School Routine
Like I said at the beginning of this post, your after school routine doesn’t have to be super elaborate. Actually, this works best if you keep it super simple. The easier it is the more likely you are to stick with it!
Here is our super simple after-school routine:
3:30: Get off bus and have a snack
4:00: Play for an hour
5:30-6:00- Start evening routine (I told you I LOVE routines!)
We do this every single Monday-Friday unless we have appointments to go too. Switching things up like this has made our afternoons together much more enjoyable.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful. Do you use routines to streamline your days? Let me know in the comments below!