6 Tips for Creating A Smooth After School Routine

Routines are essential for keeping families and their homes less chaotic – the after school routine is one of the most important.

6 steps for creating a smooth after school routine

This article won’t give you an afterschool routine, step by step. I know that every single family has different priorities and abilities. I’m here to teach you how to build one that works for you and your family.

Related post: The Daily Routine That Saves My Sanity As A Mom

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Why is it important to have an after school routine?

After school routines help everyone in the family decompress. You’re trying to make your transition into mom world and the kids are trying to make their transition into kid world, from school. Yes, school focuses a lot on social interaction and seeing their friends but ultimately, it requires A LOT of brain power.

Setting up an after school routine for them helps take away the surprise element and guessing game for them. It also takes away the pressure of decision making for them.

As we all know, being overwhelmed makes kids grumpy – grumpy kids = grumpy mom.

How do I build a routine that works for my family?

To build a routine that works for your family, you can follow my 3-step problem solving framework:

3-step framework for problem solving - realistic expectations, annoying mindset and self nurture. This is a great process to complete to build an after school routine
  • Realistic Expectations: How old are your kids? What are realistic expectations for them and for you. What kind of energy do you have when they get home from school? Do they have homework? When can they realistically get it done?
  • Annoying Mindset: You don’t have to smother them with one-on-one time when they get home from school. Your after school routine can consist of them doing something on their own.
  • Self-Nurture: How are you filling your own bucket? Are you able to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for their return?

Related post: 9 Useful Positive Daily Affirmations For Moms


Steps to creating an effective after school routine

Creating your after school routines are very important and everyone’s routine is going to be different. However, here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re creating yours for your family.

  • Eat before the kids get home: How many times have we lost our minds on our kids because we were hangry? Get yourself a filling snack before they come home so you can avoid that.
  • Assess your expectations: Kids are notorious for losing it where they’re comfortable and after school at home is the number one place for that. Be prepared for that to happen.
  • Have snack ready for the kids: Again with the hangry-ness. Those kids are starving when they get home. Make them a filling snack and have it ready for them for when they get home.
  • Drop the guilt: Don’t feel guilty about letting them veg out. They’ve spent the entire day at school being told what to do and exercising their brain. They need a break and to be allowed to just relax.
  • Transition into caregiving mode: If all your kids are at school all day, you’ve likely spent the day alone and hopefully focused on you for a portion of it. It’s time to transition from Me & Myself mode to the Motherhood/Parenting mode. These really do take 2 different levels of effort so make sure you shift your effort and energy into parenting mode.
  • Be available to them: While they do need the time to veg out, stick around them physically and emotionally. They may need you when you aren’t expecting it!

Our routine with 4 kids

Our routine for after school is relatively simple – my kids are still young (5th grade and under) and don’t have homework. When they get home, I have snack waiting for them. Once they finish their snack (they typically read while they’re snacking). Then, they get about an hour of screen time and they usually choose tablets or video games.

If it’s nice out, we then transition to outside.

Next steps

  • Evaluate your current after school plan. Is it chaotic? Challenging? Could you and your kids benefit from a change?
  • Keep yourself in mind: You are important! When you’re building your plan, keep your sanity in mind as well.
  • Start implementing small changes in your plan. See what works and what doesn’t work.

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