Whether you've got kids in elementary, middle or high school, handling all the after-school tasks can be challenging and requires excellent time management and planning skills. Not only do you need to think about homework time and extracurricular activities, but you'll also need to fit in a meal and valuable family time. Some preparation the night before, plus effective planning and flexibility, can help the daily routine for homework and activities go more smoothly.
Begin With Some Preparation
Planning for your child's arrival and busy schedule requires creativity. You should first have a calendar or even a chart listing everything your family needs to do after the school day. Identifying school projects, sports activities and any family events will help you gather what you need beforehand and come up with a reasonable schedule.
Video of the Day
If you have multiple children or they participate in multiple sports activities, a system with individual bags can help keep things organized and save time. For example, you might use a certain color backpack for your kid's baseball gear and another color backpack for their dance class. Even cheap totes that kids personalize will work. That way, they can grab the right pack quickly and go.
When your kid leaves school, there's also a good chance they'll want a snack promptly. Pennsylvania State University suggests getting some healthy treats to either bring with you in the car or hand out once they get home. This avoids spending time and money after school at the store for possibly overpriced snacks.
Some preparation the night before, plus effective planning and flexibility, can help the daily routine for homework and activities go more smoothly.
Prioritize Schoolwork When Possible
Since completing homework is so crucial, your routine should prioritize homework time. This could mean tackling it right away if there's a busy night ahead or waiting until after dinner if you've got fewer after-school activities. In any case, you'll want to have your child unload their backpack and supplies upon getting home and make note of homework assignments due the next day.
You can encourage your child to use their study hall or any free time during their ride home from school or time at extracurricular activities to do reading, worksheets and projects. This will reduce the time needed at home. South Dakota State University Extension also suggests preparing a quiet study area to work more productively.
Carefully Coordinate After-School Activities
Juggling several after-school activities presents challenges whether you have a student athlete with an important game or a child participating in the Girl or Boy Scouts. There's also the need to be flexible in case there's a special weekday event or even a cancellation due to bad weather.
You might find each parent must take children to different activities close together or rush from one activity to another. Knowing the schedule and planning to leave early enough to accommodate for traffic will be key to getting your kids to their activities on time and with less stress. Keeping your kids informed, having activity bags prepared and even bringing along some snacks can allow for smoother transitions.
The University of Northern Colorado mentions you might find that your school year routine just lacks the amount of time needed for all planned activities. If so, you may host a family meeting to determine whether it's time to cut any activities to have more family time and possibly even save money.
Plan for Your Family Meal
When creating your family's routine, allow for time to sit down together for a meal and discussion. If your routine is very busy, consider doing meal planning on the weekends or even dropping for a quick meal at a restaurant if your budget allows. Your meals don't have to be fancy either, so even mac and cheese can work on busy evenings. Use the meal to talk about each others' day, favorite movies or hobbies and anything else enjoyable.
Make Time for Relaxation Too
The American Academy of Pediatrics emphasizes the importance of playtime for kids' mental and physical health, and you'll also need some time to relax as a parent. So, incorporate some play or unstructured time into your after-school routine after dinner or whenever else works for your schedule.
You might include a simple physical activity like playing catch or riding bikes as a family outside or an indoor activity like creating crafts or playing board games. This will help with preventing burnout due to all the busyness.
- South Dakota State University Extension: Summer Fun is Done: Tips for Transitioning Back to School
- Pennsylvania State University: Establishing an After-School Routine
- University of Northern Colorado: How To Manage Your Extracurriculars
- American Academy of Pediatrics: The Power of Play - How Fun and Games Help Children Thrive