Surviving the After School Chaos So You Don’t Lose Your Mind!
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So among all of the talk about getting ready to go back to school, let’s not neglect the after school rush. By that I mean that time in the day where your kids walk in the door from school hungry and tired yet full of energy. Let the chaos begin. Instead, let’s come up with a plan of how to handle those moments when your child bursts through the door saying, “Mom, I’m home!”
Instead, let’s come up with a plan of how to handle those moments when your child bursts through the door saying, “Mom, I’m home!”
Being proactive about this time of day will avoid the stress that can spill over into getting ready for dinner. This will also benefit you when your family actually sits down to eat the evening meal. Much of the stress that can be felt by all during this time of the day has to do with not having clearly defined what should be happening.
I find that kids, whether in school or not, do so much better when they know what they should be doing at any given time. When kids know what is expected of them and how to do these things, life around the home just goes more smoothly.
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When it comes to the after school time, here’s how to survive the chaos of it all!
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First, establish a routine
This should be a relatively easy concept for your kids since routine is the cornerstone in a school day. Because routine is important in home life, too, now is the time to come up with your after school routine. This could include things like where to put their things. This could also include whether or not your kids get a snack and whether they get free time when they get home. Your kids can have responsibilities at home just as they have responsibilities at school. You just need to define what these are.
Decide, clearly define, and illustrate what needs to happen with homework
Are your children allowed to wait until later in the evening to start working on their homework? Or, are they required to get started on it relatively soon after getting home? Establish and explain what your expectations are for them regarding homework.
To do this, update the family calendar. Are you going to have activities that overlap? Who do you need to bring where and when? Your older kids can be responsible for filling in their activities on the calendar. But, they need to be trained to do this.
Generally, I think middle school is a great time for kids to start taking ownership of filling in their own calendar and transferring that to the family calendar. Train age appropriate kids now. Monitor them for a few weeks once school starts. Then, leave them on their own to be responsible for doing their part in maintaining the shared family calendar.
Schedule some time to reconnect with your child or children individually at some point after they get home
You will want them to have some of your time to tell you all about their day, especially in the beginning when it is all new and exciting. Hopefully, you can have dinner together as a family on a regular basis. If your family is like mine this can be a challenge at times, but as often as possible is ideal.
Enlist the help of others
This help could be carpools, family members who are helping with picking up and dropping off kids (this help even includes your spouse since generally husbands require ample time to plan things), and recruiting your older kids to help the younger kids with homework. The idea is to get a team in place and to get them trained right now.
Adjust the attitude of your children
Kids can be resistant to school, especially if they don’t like school or struggle with certain subjects, but now is the time to start building them up. Make sure they understand that life is full of struggles and the need to learn to do things they don’t necessarily like. Get their attitudes in the right place now to help with the first few weeks of that after school madness that is part of most homes each fall. Getting their attitude in the right place now will help avoid meltdowns during those first few days after they get home from their school day.
Get their attitudes in the right place now to help with the first few weeks of that after school madness that is part of most homes each fall. Getting their attitude in the right place now will help avoid meltdowns during those first few days after they get home from their school day.
The after school chaos is expected, but it can be controlled to a great extent. Taking the time now to negate as much of that crazy time will be something you so appreciate down the road. With some plans in place, hearing, “Mom, I’m home,” can be the best part of your day.