Believe it or not, kids thrive on routine. For as much grief as they give us for completing chores or doing homework, they sure don’t show it! But studies have shown (and from my own personal experience) kids do much better when there’s a schedule and a routine in place. That’s why I created this after school routine checklist!
Make sure to scroll down to get your free checklist (plus a blank one that is editable to fit your needs!)
Need more ideas? Check my post about How To Create A DIY Face Mask Station and 10 Habits of Moms who Never Have Stressful Mornings
I don’t know about you, but for me, having a routine in place significantly helps me manage a household so much more peacefully. Instead of realizing that we didn’t do yesterday’s homework 5 minutes before it’s time to leave for school, it’s already been done and packed in their backpack! So creating a routine is as much for kids as it is for parents.
Developing the routine is the hard part! It takes consistent effort but over time, kids come to learn that there are certain expectations that they must fulfill before they get to do the fun things that they want to do.
Kids are motivated by different things. My kids are really motivated by friends. They know that the sooner they get their after school chores done, the sooner they get to play with friends! I’m so grateful that this is what motivates them and generally speaking, my kids are typically pretty great at moving through the motions of their routine. But it is taken me years of practice for them to realize my expectations. So don’t give up Mama! It’s so worth it!
Hang Up Coat and Put Away Shoes
For some inexplicable reason, a natural behavior seems to be ingrained in all children. When they return home after school, they tend to haphazardly drop their belongings in a heap before walking through the door. While I have yet to fully comprehend why my children exhibit this behavior, it appears to be gradually improving each passing year.
One effective strategy that benefits our family is having designated hooks for each family member conveniently located near the entrance to our garage. This arrangement encourages them to hang up their coats and neatly arrange their shoes (in theory) even before stepping inside the house.
I’d like to share a clever life hack that my husband spontaneously introduced, and it has surprisingly proven to be quite effective for our family. Previously, our children habitually left their shoes strewn in the doorway, which could be rather exasperating. So, on a whim, my husband used masking tape to mark a substantial ‘X’ on the floor in front of our garage door, signaling to the kids that this area is not suitable for shoe storage. Adjacent to this prominent ‘X,’ he created a taped box, clearly demarcating where the kids should place their shoes. While it has had its ups and downs, we are undeniably making progress!
Wash Your Hands
In the year 2020, a year marked by unprecedented events, the return to school holds a unique significance. While some states have chosen to forgo traditional classroom learning due to the ongoing pandemic, here in Utah, our children are fortunate to have the opportunity to return to the physical classroom.
Amid these extraordinary circumstances, numerous precautions have been put in place to ensure the safety and well-being of our children. One such precaution is the mandatory use of masks during school hours. Although I personally find wearing masks uncomfortable, even during short trips to the grocery store, I firmly believe that there is no substitute for in-person education.
In light of the ongoing threat of COVID-19, it is imperative that our children diligently practice good hygiene habits, starting with thorough handwashing after their school day. To reinforce this crucial habit, I utilized a silhouette cutting machine and vinyl to create a helpful reminder near the back door. Hopefully, this visual cue will serve as a constant reminder for them to wash their hands with soap and water immediately upon returning home.
Create a Spot for Dirty Face Masks
Ensuring our children wear clean masks to school every day presents a challenge in keeping track of mask cleanliness. To facilitate this, we’ve implemented a systematic approach. Upon arriving home, we encourage our kids to place their masks in a designated location.
There are various options for mask storage after school. One option is to place the masks directly in the washer and run it when there are enough clothes to do so. I’ve set up a ‘Mask Station’ using a white-painted shelf, allowing us to easily organize clean masks, used masks, hand sanitizer, and our after-school checklist. Alternatively, you could designate a small garbage can for storing used masks.
Clean Out Your Lunchbox
Have you ever opened up your kid’s lunchbox Monday morning only to realize that you forgot to empty it before the weekend and now you have rotten, spoiled food to deal with? Yep, me too. More times than I can count! I’m hoping that this year will be a little bit different if I put it on their after school checklist.
Eat A Healthy Snack
My kids are usually really hungry by the time they get home from school so having an after-school snack is one of the first go-to things that they do. I really try to feed them healthy snacks after school to help tide them over until dinner time.
One thing that I did last year for after-school snacks that helped my kids eat healthy was to create a small charcuterie board for them to pick at. Because the fruits, veggies, and nuts are already cut up and available, my kids were much more prone to eating those healthy foods than normal.
You can also check out my other posts about prepping healthy snacks for kids:
- 52 Mess-Free Road Trip Snacks They Will Love
- Healthy Snacks in the Pantry
- Refrigerated Healthy Snacks
Given the vital role of reading in a child’s development, most students have a designated reading period as part of their homework. Therefore, reading after school becomes imperative. Occasionally, my children manage to complete their reading before heading to school, but I include it in their after-school checklist since there are instances when they are unable to do so.
If you are looking for a great way to incentivize reading with your kids, check out my At-Home Kids Reading Program printables in my store!
Unpack Your Backpack
Checking my children’s backpacks is something I often forget to do. Extracurricular activities sometimes disrupt our after-school routine, and I’ve been guilty of neglecting this task. Therefore, I aim to incorporate it into our daily routine to prevent a buildup of papers and artwork in their backpacks.
Furthermore, what better time to do this than right before they start their homework? This ensures that both you and your child are on the same page, understanding what needs to be accomplished and what is expected during homework time.
Do Your Homework
Completing homework is a crucial aspect of an after-school routine. Ideally, it would be great if schools didn’t assign homework after regular classes, but that’s the reality we face. Fortunately, my children aren’t at an age where homework becomes overwhelmingly challenging. They typically complete their assignments promptly, driven by the desire to have more time to play with their friends.
Though there can be occasional stress associated with doing homework at night, it’s far better than rushing to finish it just minutes before the school bus arrives! During challenging times, there are resources available to provide assistance with homework. These support services can be a real lifesaver.
Pack Your Backpack for Tomorrow
This is one of those steps that can really help you have a smooth morning! If you can teach your kids to pack their backpack and get everything ready for school right after they get their homework done, then they don’t have to think about it again! Don’t forget to pack a new mask for the following school day!
If your kids eat lunch from home, then this is the perfect time to have them pack their own lunches and leave them in the fridge until the morning.
In order to help you create a more peaceful home, I have created an After School Checklist for you do download! The best part is that you can edit the file (in Adobe) to fit the needs of your own family.
My Favorite Products for Laminating Checklists:
I hope this post has given you some ideas for what to include in your after school routine checklist. Every family is so different so it will definitely take some trial and error for you to figure out what works for your family. So you have the option to use the blank after school routine checklist and create your own items that work best for you and your kids!
P.S. I was featured in the Top 50 Organizing blogs to read in 2020! I know that doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but for a new blogger, it’s a pretty big compliment! Yay me!