We all know that school mornings can be chaotic but after school can be just as bad! It seems like the kids hop off the bus and run into the house with a combination of hunger, crankiness, energy. That’s a dangerous combo! If left to themselves they would eat all the food in the house while having ten million arguments with their siblings. Let’s also add to the chaos the fact that there is homework to be done and dinner to be cooked. If you’re like me, you do it on your own until your husband gets home just in time for dinner or completely on your own because he’s away at training again. Yup, military life! I should add that I have three girls and along with that I have every range of girl drama. My oldest is 12 and usually just wants to be left alone after school to decompress. My middle daughter is 7 and has tons of friends in the neighborhood that want to play everyday. I also have a 2-year-old that is home with me all day and cannot wait for her sisters to come home and play with her.
Check out these printable after school routinetemplates. You can use the templates for any age, simply write the order of the activities into the boxes.
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I’ve learned to keep our mornings running smoothly over the past few years by packing lunches, laying out clothes and making sure backpacks are ready the night before. These same ideas can be applied to your after school routine.
Four important things to remember about your kids after school:
They are kids, not adults. They will be hyper and hungry.
They have been sitting still for a majority of their day.
It’s not personal. Their attitudes and crankiness aren’t specifically aimed at you, at least not most of the time.
Remain calm! Do Not Get Spooked by the crazed creatures(yup, that’s our kids) that are about to enter your door!
Just like you prepare for school the night before you should prepare for the evening before your kids get home. Have an activity planned that they can do when they get home. It can be something simple like coloring, playing Play-Doh or building with Lego’s. If they have something ready for them there will be less time for the crankiness and arguments.
Make sure you have dinner planned at the least. If you’ve got the extra time , I would suggest cooking dinner ahead of time or getting it ready so all you have to do is pop it in the oven. I can tell you from experience that it’s not easy to cook with kids telling you about their day in the loudest voices possible and a toddler hanging on your leg.
Have a snack ready for them.
If you skip this step two things will happen. 1- They will eat everything in sight. 2-They will argue about the choices they have for snacks, like you’re the worst mom ever for not having what they really wanted.
Get them moving.
Kids have a lot of pent-up energy after school. Their like caged monkey’s being let out of their cage. Ok, I’m not actually calling my kids animals but their behavior is similar sometimes. If the crankiness is too much to handle I send them outside. We recently bought a trampoline for our girls and it’s been a lifesaver. I will mention that it’s not a magic fix, I have to play referee most of the time because they can’t take turns nicely. If you don’t have a trampoline or swing set there are still plenty of things they can to burn off some energy. Have them race, create an obstacle course or go for a walk. If the weather doesn’t permit them to be outside I would suggest a website called Go Noodle. I was introduced to this site by one of my girls teachers.
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15 Minute clean-up.
Spend 15 minutes straightening the house before your kids run through the door. When they come home you’ll have backpacks, lunch boxes and shoes everywhere. Make it easier on yourself by having the house straightened before hand. After you’ve done your 15 minute cleanup, take a deep breath and prepare.
The after school chaos isn’t as bad as it sounds. I’m not trying to imply that my kids annoy me or are terrible, they are simply bundles of energy. Things run smoother if that energy is channeled into an activity.
What tips do you have to handle the after school chaos?