DCRmom at Musings of a Housewife wrote a few days ago about how hard it can be to balance a child's after-school schedule. I could relate to her concerns. There is precious little time from when they arrive home until bedtime, and I want to make that time as seamless as possible for them. Here are some few tips that work for me (my kids are elementary-aged):
- I try to be "ready" for them when they get off the bus. I'm not on the phone, I'm not in the middle of a project, I'm just ready for them.
- They grab a snack first thing, and they really want to "veg" a while before talking. I don't take this personally, and I don't pump them for info about their day. Yet.
- I let them watch 1-2 TV shows (depending on how much time we have).
- While they're watching TV, I go through their backpacks. This gives me a better idea what went on during their day.
- After the downtime we begin homework and discussions about what all happened that day. One good conversation starter--"What was the best and worst part of your day?"
- As much as possible, we schedule after-school activities on two days a week, maybe three in a pinch. This way we're not always dashing off to something--two or three days a week we can have a slower pace.
- I don't let my kids have playdates with neighborhood kids during the week. It's just one more thing to try to manage. (This thankfully isn't a huge issue, since we don't have a lot of kids in our neighborhood!)
I'd love to hear your tips for managing after-school
chaos loveliness, if you have any.
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