Let’s talk about about how to stay sane when trying to do homework and manage after school activities with your kids. This is something I’ve definitely not mastered, but I’m getting close. With now, TWO kids in school – one in 1st grade and one in 3rd, there’s double the homework, double the take home papers, double the after school actives and double the meltdowns. (maybe triple if you throw in an occasional meltdown from me! haha!) Here’s 5 tips for organizing your evenings better so that everything gets done and there’s no surprises in the morning right before you head out the door for school.
1. Have a designated drop zone. The very first thing I have my children do when they walk in the door is to hang up their coats, shoes and backpacks in a designated area! This is important, believe it or not. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had too many mornings of running around trying to find a hat or a mitten than I care to admit. This solves that problem!
2. Unload and repack. As soon as the kids are in the door I have them unload their book bags of anything that doesn’t need to go back to school tomorrow – homework, graded papers, lunch boxes, sweaters, etc… This give me a chance to go through through it all in case I need to have something ready to go back the next day and to also evaluate how they did with the lunch I sent. Did I send enough or too much? Was that jelly and cream cheese bagel sandwich a hit or miss? It’s all out on the table so that we can see what needs to be accomplished that evening before bed.
3. Snack time! The kids have been at school all day and it’s time to refuel before taking on the rest of the evening. I always make a yummy snack that will get my kid through until dinner to avoid any meltdowns or grumpiness!
4. Homework. After snack I give them some time to unwind and run around but then I have them dive right into their homework. There are two reasons for this. 1. They have plenty of time to focus or get help, should there be any issues and 2. They aren’t up at 9pm in a panic trying to complete it. There’s nothing worse than trying to do a bedtime routine while your child is doing their last math problems that they can’t figure out and are on the verge of tears. That’s no fun for anyone. So, we get it out of the way so that we can enjoy the rest of the night.
5. Pack Up. After homework we start to pack up the backpacks for the next day. We put homework, notes and supplies back into the bags, along with anything else that needs to go back. PE shoes, snacks, water bottles, etc.. Then, there’s also no running around searching for that missing library book right before you head out the door in the morning! This is also a good time to check the calendar to see what’s going on. Is it music day or art? Will there be soccer practice after school or will you be home for the evening? It’s always a good idea to know what’s going on so that you are prepared.
There is so much to do these days that it’s imperative to plan out your evenings or it will never get all accomplished and you’ll be up at 10pm at night while YOU try to do everything that your kids could have helped you do earlier in the evening. I think it’s super important, no matter your child’s age, to teach them to be responsible for themselves and their own things. It will save you time, energy and will pay off in the long run.
How do you organize your evenings at home with your children? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments below.