There is something so insanely stressful about a bunch of kids coming through the front door, throwing backpacks everywhere, kicking off their shoes, all at once telling you the good and bad of their days and reaching for snacks and drinks. Meanwhile….I’m over here like, “Don’t touch that!” “I just vacuumed that!” “I can’t hear you over your sister.” “What did you say?” “Don’t eat that, I’m about the make dinner!”
How can this chaotic, loud, and messy after school scene be made a little bit less stressful? Preparation! Preparing your heart, body, life, and schedule to fit around the after school routine can make it seem so much more doable. Sometimes this is literally impossible. Working moms may feel like they so wish they could be there for the after school time, but for those of us who are there to welcome the little cherubs home, here are a few tips to make it go smoothly.
5 Tips to a Better After School Routine – Creating Order
- Give yourself 15-20 minutes of time BEFORE they come home, to just decompress. This could be as simple as having a cup of coffee, doing a devotion, or sitting on the couch and staring blankly at the wall.
- Have dinner thought out, made up, or start to prepare it ahead of time. Otherwise you will be trying to cook, cleanup, talk to the kids, and get ready for the evening’s activities all at once. This can make for a cranky mom, and cranky kids.
- Create a designated spot for backpacks, shoes, coats, paperwork, homework, etc. to go. You can turn your hall closet into an organized place where all of this happens, with bins for homework, a basket for shoes, hooks for backpacks. Or you can use really any place in the house you think would work, in order to give everything it’s place. When you have multiple kids, with multiple backpacks, coats, etc. it just gets so disorderly, so quickly. Having a place to keep everything nice and tidy helps the kids to know exactly where to put things, and keeps the house from being ripped apart the moment they walk through the door.
- Know the schedule for the evening, and post it for all to see. We use a chalkboard in our kitchen to keep everyone on the same page. I usually write out the night before what the next day will be like. This way the kids know what to expect. Do we have a doctor appointment? Are we picking up their cousin? Does one of the kids have an activity? What’s for dinner? All of this is on the board, so we can all be on the same page.
- Prepare snacks in bags, or bowls ahead of time. When the kids finally get home from a long day of school, being good, working hard, and barely eating, they are ravenous! Unless you want them to eat an entire bag of chips while watching Jessie, it’s best to have apples sliced, crackers bagged, and everything ready to go. This also reduces the amount of people who will rip apart the kitchen trying to find snacks, and they won’t be fighting over the same bag of treats.