How is it possible that my kiddos are beginning their 2nd week of school already? For the most part, things have been humming along quite smoothly. I’d definitely attribute some of that success to our focus on routines this month in the Organize & Refine Your Home Challenge. With a week of school under our belt, we’ve almost mastered both our morning and evening routines already. What really needs some work is our after school routine.
Can you relate?
Hands down, THE most hectic time of the day in our house is the 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. block of time. Why? Let me paint the picture for you. The kids run through the door. They throw their backpack on the kitchen island and immediately begin raiding the pantry for anything consumable because they are STARVING. As they scarf down their junk food of choice, they quickly begin to throw out requests to play with a certain neighborhood friend (or throw themselves down on the couch and grab the t.v. remote).
Meanwhile, I’ve got a 2-hour window of time to make and serve dinner, help them study for tests, and clean the kitchen before driving them to their evening swim practice. Just writing about it induces a mild panic attack in me.
This school year, I’m determined to put a stop to the after-school chaos by creating an official after school routine. Perhaps your household could benefit from one as well. Heck, I bet many of you already have one in place. If so, you could probably teach me a thing or two about it!
WHAT WILL YOUR AFTER SCHOOL ROUTINE LOOK LIKE?
Even though it’s important to customize an after school routine that suits your family’s particular needs, I’m betting that there are some common elements that most of us would include. When I sat down the other day to write out all of the tasks to be included in our routine, it looked like this:
- Hang backpack and coats up in the drop zone
- Put important papers for me to review/sign in the inbox (you can read about how I manage school papers here)
- Remove containers from lunch bag, place in sink and put lunch bag away
- Wash hands
- Eat a healthy snack
- Complete chores listed on daily chore chart
- Complete homework (including studying for tests)
- Prep for swim practice (put on a practice suit, pack bag and water bottle)
Hmmm…that’s a lot for a kid to remember. It’s no wonder that I find myself consistently reminding them about what needs to be done throughout the afternoon. Hmmm…perhaps a checklist might be useful.
Ya think Natalie?
So in keeping with the theme of “design a checklist to help transform your new household routine into a habit”, I did just that.
Checklists really are magical. They set clear expectations for everyone. They reduce the need for constant reminders on your part. They provide a sense of accomplishment for your kiddos when they get to place a big fat check mark in the circle.
Need a basic after school checklist for your kiddos? Click on the image below to download this one (be sure to snag the companion “Good Morning” Checklist & “Good Night” Checklist too). Once you print it, you can either laminate it or frame it inside a picture frame to create a reusable dry-erase checklist:
My goal is to add a bit more structure to our afternoons and to make sure that all of the items on the checklist are completed before we take off in the evening for swim practice. I’ve decided to avoid being completely Nazi-esque about it though. I’m giving them some flexibility when it comes to the order in which they decide to complete each task on the checklist (with the exception of washing hands…which must happen immediately!).
Now that I’ve got my routine formulated, I’m setting out with checklist in hand to implement it in my house. Can’t wait to check back with you in a few weeks to let you know how it’s going! Promise me that you’ll do the same!
ESTABLISHING AN AFTER SCHOOL ROUTINE ASSIGNMENT:
- Write down all of the tasks that need to be completed during after-school time in your home
- Incorporate these tasks into an after school routine and review this new routine with family members
- Create a checklist to help everyone stick with the new routine
This post is part of the Organize and Refine Your Home Challenge