With the approach of the start of the school year, I wanted to be purposeful in establishing an after school routine for when my elementary kids get home. Here’s 6 surefire tips to help you settle into an after school routine week one!
I don’t know about you, but every school year I have the best intentions to establish a calm & productive after school routine. You would think after having children in school for the last 10 years, I’d have this down pat. But truth is, I start off really strong with a great system and by mid-October, we start getting lazy and very quickly, our after school routine becomes messy & non-productive.
This year, I am determined to establish a routine with my youngest who is going into 2nd grade. I realize that some of my best one-on-one time with him is in the hour between him getting off the bus and his older siblings getting home. And because he is my youngest, I want to be intentional with our time together.
I was excited to partner with PediaSure in creating this article, as it really gave me time to think about how to make our After School Routine both peaceful and productive.
6 Tips to Help Create An After School Routine
After School Routine: Establish it the First Day of School
As with any routine, the sooner you start it AND the more consistent you are, the better. Establish what you want your time after school to look like and make that plan before they get home. Personally, I want to close the door of my office & be finished with my work day when the school bus drops him off, so that I can focus on him, which means I need to plan my day accordingly.
After School Routine: Time to Decompress
My favorite time of the day is the 5 minute walk home from the bus stop. It’s one-on-one time with each other for us to discuss what he did at school, who he played with at recess, and what his favorite part of the day was. I learn so much during that short walk.
How ever your child gets home from school, make sure to take the time to talk to them for a bit, allowing them to decompress and settle in at home before starting any after school homework, chores, or activities.
After School Routine: School/Homework Station
Create a spot in your house to store backpacks & lunch boxes. Make sure it’s the same spot every day, so there is less time in the morning packing or even finding it – don’t laugh, that has happened to us before!
We also have a homework station on our kitchen counter where my son will take any important papers out of his folders and place in the basket for me to look at/sign. There is a container filled with sharpened pencils, large erasers, a ruler, etc. This station is for all 3 of my children and helps us stay organized, especially with 3 different schools to keep up with.
After School Routine: Healthy Snacks
It’s easy to get lazy & pour him a bowl of crackers or let him grab a cookie when he comes home starving off the bus. But I’d rather ensure he has a healthy snack. My son knows he can grab a snack from the “Healthy Basket” in the pantry or the “Healthy Drawer” in the refrigerator. The basket is filled with nutritious, filling snacks, such as raisins, granola bars, nuts, and fruit snacks. Our drawer in the refrigerator is filled with apples, grapes, carrots, cheese sticks, and water.
We recently discovered PediaSure SideKicks to add to his Healthy Drawer. Since my youngest tends to be a picky eater, he doesn’t always get the best nutrition, especially when it comes to eating his lunch at school (cause Mom’s not there, hello?)
So I love knowing that he is getting 7g protein, 3g fiber, and 25 essential vitamins and minerals in each shake.
We keep them cold in the refrigerator, so it’s a great, refreshing snack to enjoy on a warm fall day. And they are great for on-the-go if we have somewhere we need to be after school.
I also love that I can use the SideKicks in recipes, replacing it for milk. We like to make berry smoothies in the mornings for breakfast and I feel like I can get more nutrients & protein in the smoothie if I add in a SideKicks. Even my teens need the extra boost! Click here to learn more about PediaSure Sidekicks.
After School Routine: Playtime/After School Activities
It’s important to allow your child to relax and have a bit of play time when they get home from school. After being in a classroom all day, I love to give him the time to run around & play with his friends. We are lucky to have a great big backyard to jump on the trampoline, swing, or even swim on a hot day. It’s another way to allow them to decompress after a school day.
And if you have after school activities, such as dance, martial arts, tutoring, scouts, or team sports, even better. Just make sure you have scheduled in the appropriate amount of time needed to easily get them to their activities.
After School Routine: Homework/Reading Time
Homework time is always the hardest in my house. With them being in the classroom all day, my kids never want to come straight home to work more. That’s why I enjoy allowing playtime in our after school routine.
But homework needs to get done and the last thing you want to do is wait until bedtime to do it. So it’s important to establish a time to get homework and/or reading time done. One of the best tools for that is to use a timer. We have 30 minutes of playtime and then we work on our homework for 15-30 minutes, depending on how much homework he has. It works for him to know he has a set time to play & a set time to get his work done.
With these 6 tips, I feel like I have a better start to establish an after school routine this year. What tips do you have to share?
Earn $3 with Ibotta when you purchase PediaSure SideKicks at Walmart. Click here for details.
I have been compensated by PediaSure for this post; however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own.