Getting your kids to school, though trying at times, seems to work within your work schedule. You either drop them off on your way to work or see them off on a school bus and continue getting yourself ready for the day ahead. For many parents, however, the difficulty comes in finding a way to make sure that their children are cared for and safe after school. If you have a traditional working schedule of 9 to 5, getting to your kids can be a bit difficult to manage. This is why many parents decide to set up an after school routine.
If your children are older and live near the school, this might mean allowing your children to walk home and start their homework and eat a snack. For younger children, either picking them up from school or allowing them to sign up for an after school program seems to be the easier option. Either way, once you get home, you want to make sure that things go right so that you can get dinner on the table and prepare for the next day.
Finding a routine that works can include a few simple steps:
Consider Safety First
When coming up with an after school routine, your children’s safety should be at the top of the list. Whether you plan on picking them up, allowing them to walk home, or sending them to an after school program you want to make sure they get where they need to be without incident. Here are some ways to consider the safety of your children:
Invest in Home Security – If you have older children that you believe can walk home and manage themselves for a few hours, investing in upgraded security cameras can improve the level of safety. ADT home security, for instance, includes upgraded features that allow the feed from your home security cameras to run to your smartphone. This allows you to ensure that the children are home safely and for you to keep an eye on them until you arrive home.
Talk with Teachers – If you’d prefer to pick your children up, make sure that you talk with their teachers to find out what the routine is for dismissal. Knowing where to pick your children up and what the procedures are if you’re late or need someone else to pick them up in your absence is important to their safety. The same goes for children staying in after school programs.
Create a Walking Plan – If your children are going to walk home from school you want them to take the safest route to get home. Walk this path with your children the first few days to make sure that they know how to properly get home from school. Having an alternate path is always beneficial in the event that something goes wrong with their normal route.
Come Up with a Schedule
Now that your children’s safety has been considered you can then create a schedule that will make sure that everything is done as it should be after school. Once you’ve created a schedule, you’ll want to have a family meeting so that your children are on the same page. Here are some suggestions for setting up an after school schedule:
Eat a Snack and Unwind – Your children are likely pretty wired from the long day of events at school. Therefore, expecting them to immediately complete their homework and handle chores is not ideal. Instead, allow them to change out of their school clothes, have a small snack, and allow them to unwind for a while.
Homework Time – Children often need a lot of help with their homework, and as their parent you will be the go to person in most instances. In order to give your children your undivided attention, you want to have them do their homework during a time where you’re not occupied with other tasks. This can be right before you start dinner or even right after dinner if it works best.
Family Time – In the midst of all this routine and preparing for the day ahead you want to do your best to pencil some family time into your schedule. This is time where you spend with your children doing something that everyone loves. Whether you watch a television show, participating in fun indoor activities, or just enjoy time talking together, there’s nothing like spending time with the ones you love and putting a smile on their face.
Having an after school routine can help your household run a bit more smoothly during the hectic weekday. As you create an after school plan that works well for your family, remember to keep safety at the forefront of your mind. Once you’ve taken all the necessary precautions to keep them safe, you can work at penciling in various tasks that need to be handled before bed. With any luck you’ll get through each day with a little less stress and a lot more accomplishments.