With a busy household after school is the “crazy” time. This is when the chaos erupts. The kids get rushed here or there for practices and lessons. The homework must be done, the wind down must occur, and of course the dreaded chores.
Mom has to sign this, and track that, and read this. Kids have to get in their reading minutes, and do their worksheets. It is plain and simple a lot of work!
But there are things that can help simplify the process and cut back on the crazy. Those things are called routines. They suck to establish, and can be a pain when implementing, but once they are in place they equal bliss for parents.
Trust me, with 4 on different schedules, I know what a life saver routines are.
So here is what I suggest:
1. Create a checklist for your kids. This of course is going to be up to you and what your family does after school. For us it involves things like chores, reading, and homework.
I loved this one from Pulling Curls: After-School Checklist (http://www.pullingcurls.com/2014/08/school-checklist.html)
2. Coordinate schedules. Take time to really evaluate your family’s schedules and coordinate for optimal results. It is really easy to let one kid’s things slide while fulfilling another’s. For example, on Wednesdays I drop my daughter at her activity and run errands until it is time to pick her up. I usually drag the rest of the kids along. But that night my son has scouts. Which means that if he does not do his homework and reading during the time his sister is at her activity, he will end up being up way too late. So I have to remember this, and bring along what he needs (pencils, the right books, etc.) so that he can work on it while we run errands. Take a few minutes to map out the family’s schedule and determine who needs to be doing what and when. Then figure out how you are going to accomplish that.
3. Include downtime and play. Routines do not always have to be about accomplishing things like chores. I have found that I am always busy. I always have a mile long to-do list, and a billion things I am not getting to because there are just never enough hours in the day. However, life should be about living and enjoying as much as it is about working and growing. So include some playing and spending time together in your routine, even if it is only 10 minutes!