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5 Tips to Keep Parents of School-Age Kids Organized After School

 


Keeping kids organized for school has looked a bit different since March 2020. Initially, when COVID first crept into our lives in the United States, schools immediately shut down, forcing teachers, students, and parents to work together to navigate remote learning. We eventually got the hang of it, but it was nearly the end of the school year before we found our rhythm. This year, both of my kids have been attending in-person school. The oldest goes five days a week, and the youngest goes three mornings a week. While I was somewhat scared to send them back to school in person, it's been a pleasant experience. which we have felt safe about for our family.

Getting back on track with keeping everything organized at home has been absolutely essential. Last spring, we were sleeping in, everyone was working at the dining room table, and there were no papers to sign or lunch boxes to pack. This year is a completely different story, and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to have things as normal as possible.

I've had to get my ducks back in a row, so to speak. in order to keep everyone organized. It does take a bit of planning and prep on my end, but it's completely worth it to keep things running smoothly.



Here are 5 Tips to Help Keep Parents of School-Age Kids Organized

1) Ask about homework right after school.

- I ask my kiddos what their homework situation is each day on the way home from school. This way, I am totally prepped for what we'll be facing come homework hour.


2) Have an after school schedule.

- We are typically home from school by 3 pm. My kids know that they have from 3 - 4:30 pm to have a light and healthy snack, play, and/or have some TV time. Educational shows are encouraged and preferred. My kids love The Who Was Show on Netflix.


3) Have kids do homework at the same time each day.

- When 4:30 pm rolls around in my house, the kids know it's homework time. My oldest (10 years) is responsible for bringing his assignments to the dining table and working independently, as he is able to. If any help is needed, either my husband or I will make ourselves available to help. Since our daughter is in Pre-K, and doesn't have daily homework yet, we keep Pre-K workbooks on hand and give her a page or two out of the workbook each day during homework time. This allows her time to practice her writing, reading, and counting, and sets her up for success in the future. It also keeps both kids busy!


4) Sign papers and folders right after school.

- One of the best things that I do for my own sanity, is to check folders right after school. I remove papers that need to come out, sign daily progress charts and agendas so that it's one thing I won't forget to do as the evening draws on.


5) Clean and prep lunch boxes right after school.

-Ever since my son was in Kindergarten, my routine has been to clean and prep his lunch box right after school each day. It truthfully only takes a few minutes. I remove the frozen pack and throw it back in the freezer, add a fresh napkin, a juice pouch, and any non-perishable food items that don't need refrigeration. I go ahead and put his granola bar in his snack pouch, add a piece of fruit, like an apple or banana, chips or crackers, and a dessert type item. Fresh items like sliced cucumbers, sandwiches, and cheese sticks go into the lunch box in the morning. I also send a small paper plate (for any heat-up foods) and write a daily note of encouragement on the back of the plate, so he'll see it when he opens his lunch box at school each day.



Whew! Now, I know that not every parent has the ability to be home with their kiddos right after school. I work from home, and my husband is home most afternoons by 4 pm. We work together to make this routine stick, and now that we've been following it for so long, the kids are quite used to it and know what to expect each afternoon. It makes life so much easier for us, and these little steps take very little time to set up or complete.

The best part? There's no stress or arguing. Everyone knows the plan, and it runs smoothly every day, making our afternoons and evenings much more pleasant!

Ready to give it a go? You can do it! Forming a new routine isn't always easy, but once you get into a regular rhythm, it's really easy to stick to it!

What are your after school or evening routines like? I'd love to hear more about them! 

Questions about mine? Drop 'em below so I can answer!

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