How to Establish an After School Routine

A couple weeks ago I shared on Instagram (follow here) and Facebook (follow here) how we establish a good after-school routine.  A good routine helps everyone know what do, provides a sense of stability and saves your sanity.  I need all the help I can get!

So, what is the recipe for a good after-school routine?

You will need a simple, logical system that can be learned easily and repeated daily after being taught.  Along, with a  simple, purposeful space where your kids can store all their gear including backpacks, shoes, lunch boxes, and papers.  The goal of an after-school routine is for kids to be able to take care of it independently!

Teach the Routine before Expecting Independence

When I taught first grade we spent the first several weeks teaching routines.  I explicitly taught the kids how to stand in line to what it looks like to reader reads a book.  It might seem crazy to model a routine so explicitly but laying the foundation helped the kids to know exactly what to do.  They were able to do that routine independently, once taught, which freed me up to provide quality instruction.

The goal of a routine at home might be different but it’s still important to teach kids what is expected, even walk them through each step and if they are young, model the behavior you want them to do.  Remember, keep it simple so they can do it independently long-term.

So what does our after school routine look like?

The kids arrive home from school and put their shoes in their own shoe bin.  Each child has their own shoe bin, under the mudroom bench.  Then, they then hang up their backpacks and any outerwear they might have on their designated hook in the mudroom.

They empty paperwork from their take-home folders on to the kitchen counter.  Next, they empty their lunchboxes of trash, place any dirty water bottles and dishes in the sink and then store their lunch boxes in a basket in the pantry.  Then, they wash their hands, grab a snack and finish any homework before setting the timer for 30 minutes to either watch tv or the iPad.

I sort through their paperwork on the counter and immediately recycle non-essentials or keepsakes and respond to any correspondence, like permission forms or signing planners.  Then, I check the homework and sign Solon’s planner.  The entire routine once learned takes less than 10 minutes (minus homework).

Once the routine is established, our kids know what to do when they get home from school each day and they are motivated to take care of it so they can get to their snack and iPad time!  This simple routine sets the tone for the rest of the evening and fosters less chaos which is always sought after in our busy home!

You might find these posts helpful –
Create a Homework Drawer
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12 Back to School Picture Books
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Back to School Money Saving Tips

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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