It is no secret that implementing an effective after school routine for kids is on every parent’s wish list. After all, school after hours are one of busiest and most stressful hours of the day for most families with school-age children.
Well my friend, if that is the case for you, don’t you worry.
Today we will be talking all about how to create an effective after school routine for kids, and resources that will help you implement it right away.
Why implement an after school routine for Kids?
An after school routine ensures children know what to expect and what’s expected of them when they come home from school. They are also imperative when it comes to creating consistency and setting them up for a successful school year.
Routines in general, allow for better discipline, less stress, and more efficiency, and after school routines are no different. In fact, an effective after school routine is one of the most important because they have a direct impact on school performance.
Both young and older kids respond really well to routines.
The question is… how do we implement an efficient after school routine and what tools can we use to help us get things done more effectively? Let’s take a look…
What do I need in order to implement an effective after school routine?
A whistle! Ok, just kidding.
All you need is a written schedule, a meeting with your kiddos, and sticking to the plan.
As simple as that.
When you set expectations and you follow through your kids will listen, trust me.
As you read the following after school routine for kids ideas remember to take into consideration the following:
- The age of your children
- Your work schedule
- Their school hours
- Sports and other after school activities
- Other personal factors unique to your family’s dynamic
Then as you read through, pick and choose what works best for your family and formulate a schedule that meets your needs.
So, grab a pencil or bookmark this page, because after today, you my friend, will have a glorious after school routine schedule to help keep your sanity.
That way, you can sail into the sunset. Okay, fine… maybe just fold some laundry and if you are lucky have a little bit of downtime with your hubby once they are off to bed, but you get the point.
Next, are 7 easy steps to create an after school routine for kids which in turn will make everyone’s life easier. Also, look out for a sample after school schedule (printable) and additional resources that will help you in creating the perfect after school routine for your family.
Let’s get started….
After School Routine for Kids Ideas
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1. School morning routine
Every good after school routine starts with a successful school morning routine!
How your child starts his/her day, will set the tone for the rest of their day.
Ensuring our kids get a great start to their day starts with us.
Waking up before them with ample time to get ready is a perfect example of a stress-free morning routine.
Here are some other tips to help your early morning routine go smoothly:
- Prepare everything the day before (if you have older kids teach them to do it themselves)
- Get up at least 30 minutes before the kids
- Time-stagger (especially if you have more than one child)
Another great thing to implement in their morning routine is using Affirmation Cards for Kids. You can learn all about them here!
2. Arrival from school routine
School day is over, the bus just pulled up, and in comes a stampede of germs running through your front door!
Not a good time!
The arrival from school routine allows you to set clear expectations of what they must do the minute they walk in through the front door.
Designate a space in your home where they can put their backpacks, shoes, and dirty clothes.
You can find a corner close to the door or in your kid’s room where you can create assigned spaces for their school-related items. If your home has a mudroom, that is a great place to set up a “school corner”.
If you don’t have a mudroom in your home a great solution for a creating a “school corner” is to grab one of these handy and inexpensive organization solution…
Just add a small hamper next to it for dirty clothes and you are set.
Don’t forget to remind them to wash their hands once they have changed their school clothes.
3. Snack-time and Free time
After they have taken off their clothes and washed their hands is time for a snack.
I don’t know about your kids, but mine come home starving.
Take the next few minutes to prepare them a healthy and fuel-packed snack to get them ready for homework.
Giving them a few minutes to unwind is also a good idea.
The average child is in school about 8 hours a day. Therefore, allowing them to have a little free time before they dive into homework can help them relax and unwind.
A great after school snack tip is to prepare labeled “snack baskets” for each child. You don’t have to prepare them everyday— once a week should be sufficient.
Add fruits, nuts, crackers, and other goodies to their baskets, and if you have space in your fridge you can also designate an after school “snack drawer” or use a plastic bin where you can keep them in. Fruits, cheese, hummus, and yogurt are great additions to their after school fridge snacks!
When they come home they know where to go to help themselves. This snack system is lifesaver for busy moms with multiple kids.
4. Homework Routine
Another important after school routine is the homework routine!
Often times parents dread homework time as much as kids do. However, by setting an efficient after school homework routine we can help our kids not only finish homework faster, but do so in a relaxed, unrushed manner.
Helping our children establish good homework habits has a direct impact on their lifelong school success.
It is important to keep in mind that homework routine’s time frame may vary depending on your kid’s age and homework load.
If they happen not to have any homework, they can have a little more free time or for older kids you can have them read for 20 minutes.
Homework routine tips:
- Have them eat a healthy and brain fueling after school snack
- Designate a homework space
- Make sure they have all homework supplies at hand
- Eliminate distractions
- Set a timer
To help establish a consistent homework routine consider writing it down in a family calendar or chore schedule.
Finding a place for school work
In addition to getting their home work done in time, finding a designated place to keep all of their school works is a lifesaver.
No, you aren’t the only one with drawers full of school papers from 2 years ago.
A great system to put in place is to use a School Memory Binder!
Here is how to do it:
- Get yourself a plastic bin, and instruct your kids to place all school work they bring home in that bin.
- When you have time (whether is once a week, once a month, or once a school year) go through the bin and curate the paper you want to keep as keepsakes, and those you want to throw out.
- Once you have chosen the school papers to keep, file them in your School Memory Binder by organizing them in categories (which come in the School Memory Binder Bundle).
….and voilá! You save yourself the hassle or figuring out what to do with a year’s worth or of school paper work, while at the same creating a priceless (and organized) keepsake.
Related Article: How to Keep School Papers Organized with a School Memory Binder!
5. Chores and Shower Routine
After homework is done, a nice warm shower follows.
But before they are off to bathe, completing any chores they have assigned for the day is a great idea.
Because some days homework tends to take longer than other days, I suggest you schedule chores on alternating days so that their after school routine doesn’t feel as crowded. For instance, 2-3 times a week. Or, you can assign everyday chores that are well-balanced in time and difficulty.
If you don’t have a Chores and Rewards routine in place, or your current one isn’t working, I suggest you look into the Chores Toolkit Bundle.
It has everything you need to implement a hassle-free chores routine that works!
Related Articles: Chores for Kids of All Ages (Plus, Rewards and Allowance Suggestions)
The shower routine is the perfect time for them to wind down before dinner and bedtime.
Shower routine tip… SET BATHROOM RULES!
- Teach them to take a change of clean clothes into the bathroom and to make sure they have a towel.
- Dirty clothes must go into the dirty hamper after they shower.
- Also teach them to pull the shower curtain/door all the way and make sure no water splashes outside of the tub/showers.
If you have teenagers, you know exactly what I mean. Even if your kids aren’t as old yet, teach them how to look after themselves. That will save you ,and them, a lot of headaches in the future.
6. Dinner Routine
Dinner routine is a great time for the entire family to come together.
Here are a few ideas for your kid’s dinner routine that can also be beneficial for the entire family. Also, these family dinner principals make a great addition to any Family House Rules.
- Have kids help set the table
- No electronic devices while eating (phones, tablets, etc.)
- Everyone sits together to eat
- Give thanks and teach your kids to be grateful for their meal
- Ask each other about their day
- Have kids take their plates and utensils to the sink
The dinner routine is a great time to implement present parenting techniques.
Related Article: How to Create Family House Rules (50 Rules and Printable)
7. Bedtime Routine
Last but not least in implementing an effective after school routine for kids, is having a set bedtime routine.
Now that everyone is clean and fed, it is time for bed.
Letting the kids have a bit of free time in between dinner and bedtime is also a good idea. This is also a great time for older kids to get their clothes ready for the next day.
Ideally, the bedtime routine shouldn’t involve electronic devices.
Electronics such as cellphones, tablets, computers, or TV all emit blue light which interferes with the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, and reset the body’s internal clock to a later schedule. (Source)
Instead, have them opt for reading a book, play with a toy, or listen to music.
Then, they can brush their teeth and off to bed.
Bedtime routine tips:
- No electronic devices for at least 1 hour before bed
- A night light or white noise machine might help induce sleep
- Night prayers help them relax and think positive thoughts
- Aim for bed routine to be at the same time every day to create a sense of consistency
- Read a positive affirmation card
Printable After School Routine Schedule/Chart
- 3:00pm-4:00pm School Arrival Routine
- 4:00pm-5:00pm Snack Time/Free Time Routine
- 5:00pm-6:00pm Homework Routine
- 6:00pm-6:45pm Chores and Shower Routine
- 6:45pm-7:30pm Dinner Routine
- 7:30pm-8:00pm Bedtime Routine
Summary of After School Routine Resources
Family Routines Course
If you need help creating all kinds of children’s routines I recommend you take a look at this course.
Family Routines: How to Automate Your Housewife Life will teach you:
- Lunch Routines
- Kids helping with meals
- Morning routines
- After school routines
- Cleaning and house chores routines
- Homework routines
- and…clothing routines
You can check out the full curriculum here.
Sometimes all we need is a fresh set of ideas we can easily implement to what we already do daily, but in a more efficient manner.
Chores are a parenting must, and implementing them along side an after school routine is a recipe for success.
Grab the Chore Chart Toolkit Printable Bundle to save your sanity.
School Memory Binder
Another great resource to implement along your after school routine is to get your School Memory Binder. It will help keep school papers organized, categorized, and out of sight all year round.
Any efficient after school routine for kids starts with a good organization system. If you don’t yet have one already…. here are four great Amazon organizational options you can have sent to your front door.
★ Related School Age kids Articles:
- How to Organize School Paper with a School Memory Binder (Printables)
- How to Create an At-Home Learning Routine and Printable Schedule
- 5 Tips to Help Your Child Develop Great Homework Habits
- 37 Fun Indoor Games and Activity for Kids
- How to Raise Grateful Children (15 Gratitude Activities for Kids and Parents)
Motherhood is a constant roller coaster ride. It has its up and its downs and it’s all arounds. But having routines and schedules in place can make all the difference in the world.
Make a plan, set goals, and stick to it!
Not all days are the same, and sometimes things won’t always go as planned. But mapping out a realistic and efficient after school routine for kids will makes life easier for the entire family.
When kids know what to expect and what is expected of them, school days go way smoother.
What after school routines have you implemented lately?