Build this after school 'sandwiched routine' with your children, for less stress and more fun.
by Susie E Caron (c) 8/31/14
After school hours are some of the most difficult that both kids and adults face every day. Everyone comes home tired, hungry and filled-up or emptied-out from the day. How can parents plan to make the afternoon and evening hours less frenetic, conflict free and more fun? I recommend that you begin a new ‘pattern’, routine or schedule for those hours. This is especially important to teach very young children. because when they learn to navigate a variety of activities in a short amount of time, they will be better prepared to manage themselves as they grow older.
There are a number of things you may want to include in this pattern: a colorful & healthy snack, different times for electronic free play, chores, dinner, homework, family time, electronic time, and bed time routines. Don’t gasp! You probably already struggled to squeeze in all of these. However, you may not have named them all before. Here’s how to design an after school routine that works for you and your family.
First, make a preliminary list of the things you want to include during the hours after school. Next ask your kids to help you to plan a ‘schedule,’ (it can also be flexible) so everyone can have fun and really enjoy being together each day. As you make up a final list it is critical that you 'sandwich' the things your kids really want to do, (play outdoors or in their rooms) in between the things they must do, (like chores and homework.) This makes it possible for them to feel that you care about their needs and wants, while at the same time, you get more cooperation from them for the things that must be accomplished. Just imagine, the next time your children balk a bit at some chore or homework they’ve agreed to do in the routine that they helped set up, you can remind them, the sooner it’s done, the sooner they can move on to their next fun activity.
Have fun making this list together and post it where it can easily be read. Children can help establish how long they can play, work, etc. Of course, you can gently guide them as you both agree on the routine. I recommend you also use a timer so children can learn to regulate their time. Don’t be afraid to revisit the list with your children later, if it doesn’t seem to be working well. Activities, times, etc. can all change to accommodate the changes and events in your lives.
Whatever you do, have fun with your children. They are only children for a short time.
Please let me know about your thoughts and questions, in the comment section below, regarding this and other articles I write. I appreciate you and everything you do to raise happy, healthy, responsible kids. It's admittedly the toughest job you'll ever have, and it can be the most rewarding.
Twee’ Means You and Me.
Susie E. Caron
Susie E. Caron MA,
Author, Blogger, Podcaster,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, helps build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, book & podcast at a time.
Welcome! I recently retired from combined careers in teaching, psychotherapy, and parent coaching to spend more time writing.
When I'm not busy creating books or articles, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or riding my beautiful horse Apple in the woods and fields of Vermont.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
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Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!