As summer winds down and we near the start of another school year, now is a great time to think about after school schedules for school age kids. Setting up a consistent schedule for your kids to follow after school can make a big difference in setting expectations and building good habits. We often focus on routines with infants and toddlers, but school age kids benefit as well from having a consistent schedule where they know what to expect.
Here are some great tips and ideas for setting up after school schedules for school age kids.
Setting Your Kids Up for Success
Every kid is different as any parent with more than one child can attest. When you’re trying to set up an after school schedule for your kids you will want to take their differences into account. Some kids need to relax for a while after school and have a chance to wind down with a quiet activity. Others may be dealing with an excess of energy and craving physical activity. Having two or more routines may seem overly burdensome but a routine that doesn’t suit your child’s needs will be hard to stick with in the long term.
Hang it Up and Put it Away
One set of tasks that should be part of every after school schedule for kids is hanging up and putting away backpacks and coats. In most cases, this should be the first thing accomplished. Create good habits by starting this on the first day of school. Coats, jackets, and backpacks get hung up or put away immediately after school. If shoes get kicked off, they go in a closet or a shoe bin. Not on the floor.
No matter what type of routine your kids need, chances are it will include a snack. A good way to make sure the coats and backpacks get put away is to make that a requirement before snack begins.
Take Time to Connect
If there is a parent at home when kids arrive, snack time is a great time to reconnect after the school day. Many kids crave a chance to talk about their day. And you can use this time to figure out if they need a chance for quiet time or some physical activity after their busy school day.
Make Good Habits Routine
Of course, homework will need to be a part of your kids after school schedules. Some kids and families prefer to get homework done immediately after snack to get it out of the way and allow for a relaxing evening. Other kids need a break from school work before they can give it their best effort and may need to pick it up after dinner. It’s a good idea to take the first few weeks of school to experiment and see what works best for your family if you are unsure.
Making chores part of your after-school schedule is often a good way to make them a regular habit. If you build them into the routine that happens every day, it sets up expectations and often eliminates procrastination and complaining. While you’re establishing a schedule, you might as well make the most of it.
After School Schedules for School Age Kids
Every family will have their own after-school routine, but most will include:
- Hanging up backpacks and coats
If you find a routine that works for your family, you may want to establish a schedule that carries your kids from getting home from school through bedtime. Here are some other ideas for your back to school schedule.
An important part of creating an after-school schedule for your kids that reduces stress is to make sure it works for your family. Never feel locked into a schedule that isn’t working. Experiment and make adjustments until you figure out what works best for your school age kids and family life. It’s worth your time and effort to find a schedule that fits your family.