Avoiding Afterschool Frustrations – Homework, Housework and Happiness
The start of a new school year is always a time of adjustments for us. It takes a few weeks to get back into the groove of a regular routine. There are new after-school activities, appointments and the likes. This year, since we switched schools, the drop off and pickup times are a little different too.
Add to that the fact that during the summer months our usual household routine goes out the window and we fly by the seat of our pants, and it’s no wonder that it takes a little while to find a new working routine. I can’t stress enough how much a regular after school routine helps things run smoothly. Homework is done in time, tests are studied for, there are clean clothes to wear in the morning and dinner goes on the table at a set time each night. Even just a little bit of structure and routine helps us stay on track and makes us a happier more relaxed family.
Make A Schedule
One of the hardest things for us when it comes to both homework and housework is just getting started and figuring out what we should be working on. Having a set schedule has been helping with that. After picking my daughter up from school we know exactly what we need to do. There’s time for a snack, kitchen cleanup, dinner prep, homework and other daily chores. We don’t waste a lot of time figuring out what needs to be done, which leaves more time for fun family activities.
Divide and Conquer
Something I struggled with for a long time was to realize that I didn’t have to do everything around the house. Dividing up chores and having everyone in the family chip in has made a big difference for us. We get done much faster and doing things around the house is good for the kids. Not only do they learn important life skills, it also teaches responsibility and perseverance.
Look at what needs to be done each week to keep the house in order. Divide up the tasks, keeping in mind that the kids also need time for homework, study, after-school activities and some time to play and relax.
Prepare For The Next Day
The secret to things running smoothly in the morning is to prepare the night before. I’m sure this is no big revelation to you. But are you doing it consistently? Have the kids pack their book bags and pick out clothes as soon as they are done with homework. Prepare as much of the lunches as you can the night before. Know what you need to wrap up the next morning and write it down. I don’t know about you, but my brain isn’t working at 100% until my second cup of coffee and I need all the reminders and help I can get.
To Do Lists Help
Speaking of writing it down… I find daily to-do lists incredibly helpful. I make them out the night before and jot down everything I want and need to get done the following day. You may want to do the same for the kids. If they are doing the same tasks and chores each day, write it on a dry erase board or print them out on paper and stick said paper into a page protector. The kids can check off things done with a dry erase marker. Clean the board or page protector of at night and the list is ready for the next day.
Staying On The Same Page With A Family Calendar
Where it gets tricky is when it comes to all the extra appointments, meetings and plans to get together with friends. A family calendar is very helpful there. We have a big dry erase calendar hanging in the kitchen with all pertinent info for the month written in.
A digital calendar like a Google Calendar for example works really well too. I like that I can share information across multiple devices. Since everyone in the house has a smart phone at this point, it’s been working out. Important stuff is set up to alert us on our phones. Perfect for doctor’s appointments, teacher conferences and birthday reminders. It also keeps us from committing to two different meetings or appointments at the same time – even when my husband makes one of them and I make the other.
Don’t Forget To Have Some Fun
Let’s wrap this up with a quick reminder on why we are doing this planning and preparing. It’s so we have more time to hang out as a family and have fun. Don’t plan just for planning’s sake or for the satisfaction of checking something off the to-do list. Do it to find a way to have family life and obligations run more smoothly and then “reinvest” the extra time into creating memories and having fun with your loved ones.
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