Is your life chaotic after school and it’s stressing you out? Don’t worry you can fix this with an easy after-school routine that will work for you. You’ll be amazed what a difference adding a daily schedule for kids can make.
You’ll find the best after-school routines are ones that let your kids decompress after school but also ensure kids get all their tasks done. A great way to do this is to create a mix of screen time, free time, family time, after school activities, and homework time. It’s a balance that sounds hard to find but you can do it don’t worry.
I’ll go through everything for you to consider when you’re creating your own after-school routine so you can make a stress-free daily routine that works for kids and parents.
I know it sounds overwhelming but it really is easy once you know how to do it and find a plan that works for your family.
Plus you’ll get our free printable After School Checklist and homework assignments tracker to help keep you organized. So let’s get started and create the perfect after-school routine for you!
This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy something using my link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclaimer here.
How to Make an After School Routine That Works for You
There are so many things to consider when determining what you’re after-school routine will be. Such as your kid’s personality, what activities they’re in, and the best times to do their homework.
But don’t worry I’ll walk you through this so you can make your after-school time less stressful and enjoyable for everyone.
Make sure to read our Smart Back to School Organization Ideas & Hacks for Busy Moms to find more ways to get you organized and ready for the school year.
Why You Need an After School Routine
Do you find yourself spending tons of time arguing about putting shoes away, asking where their backpacks are, and telling your kids to do their homework?
The best part of a routine is there is less arguing because everything they need to do is set and it just becomes part of their daily lives.
Your kids will know exactly what they need to do every day so you won’t have to nag them. Once you get the new routine going they will know they are expected to do things such as hang up their backpack when they get home and do homework assignments after dinner for example.
These routines will be set so there is no questioning or forgetting what needs to get done.
The best way to start a new evening routine is to be consistent. This will help both parents and kids have consistency in their daily routine. You’re not asking them to do something one day and not asking them to do it another day. This is usually where the kids and you get upset.
Honestly, the consistency part can be the hardest part for parents to maintain. What I have found that helps me the most is posting an after-school checklist on our fridge.
This keeps us all on track and helps the whole family stay consistent. I can just point to the chart and say what do you need to do next. This goes back to less arguing too!
Plus kids really thrive when there is consistency to their day and they know what to expect.
Keeps You Organized
Organization is the key to taking away the daily stress in your life with kids. When your kids hang up backpacks and put away their lunch bags you can easily find them in the morning. This helps make your morning routine less stressful too.
It also reminds everyone to go through their backpack to look for any school folders sent home or homework assignments the kids need to do. This way you are keeping on top of everything and not running around the last minute to finish some project or fill out papers that were sent home.
Having a set time to do homework will also make things less hectic so kids aren’t trying to finish assignments at the last minute which tends to stress everyone out.
You can end that by sitting down at a certain time each night to go over their work even if it’s just 5 minutes to make sure everything is completed.
Creating Your After School Routine
Now the question is what should I do after school with the kids? Let’s go through the after-school activities and what to consider adding to your daily routine.
At the end grab your FREE Printable After School Checklist or the Blank After School Checklist to make your own schedule.
First Thing Put Away Backpacks & Lunches
The first thing to do is get your kids in the habit of emptying their school bags and hanging them up after school.
Consider creating a DIY Backpack station or cubbies to store their backpack, coats, and shoes by the front door or in a mudroom. This way there is a designated spot to hang up their school bags and it sets the expectations where they should go.
The kids should also make sure to take out any school folders they brought home or homework assignments from their backpacks. While also discarding and unneeded papers they bring home.
Then I would suggest having the kids bring their school lunch bags to the kitchen. This will help you or the kids be ready to pack school lunches easily the next day.
If you consistently ask your kids to do this it will become routine and then you won’t even have to ask it will be just what they do after school.
I don’t know about your kids but mine are starving after school. So once their backpacks are hung up it’s time for a healthy after-school snack.
A huge time saver is making your snacks ahead of time and having them ready in your fridge or pantry for the kids to grab. I know it sounds like a lot but I promise you it will make things smoother after school.
Plus it gives your kids some independence to pick out their own snack from the choices you left for them.
See how I did it in my DIY Pantry Organization Ideas for Snacks & School Lunches.
Let Them Decompress with Free Play
After snack time let the kids have some free play. It’s a long day at school and they probably need some time to just relax and play.
This is when you need to decide if you will let the kids have screen time or not. I would suggest setting the precedent right when you begin your routine so there is no fighting about it later on.
Give the kids ideas of what they can do during free time such as play outside, build legos, do a craft, play a board game. Here are tons of fun indoor activities and outdoor activites for kids they’ll love.
I would suggest you try and balance out a certain amount of time to go outside or play indoor games with screen time.
Tip: You can set time limits on their iPads or pick specific shows so you can restrict the amount of time they spend on electronics.
Do Your Homework Assignments
I find the perfect time of day that kids can best focus on homework is different for each kid. Some kids do better getting their homework done right away while others would prefer to have some time to play afterschool and get some energy out.
This might be something you have to play around with and see what works best for your kids.
They may be too wound up after school to settle down and do school work and playing outside after snack is a better option. While other kids might never get their homework done if they don’t do it right away.
Another thing to consider is what after-school activites you have this will play a role in when homework needs to get done too.
Get your homework organized with our free printable Homework Assignments tracker & checklist. It will make tracking what homework they completed easier for both kids and parents.
Another great way to get your kids to focus is having a designated homework station. Create a place kids can just work on their homework without any distractions.
This could be the kitchen counter, kitchen table, or desk space in their room. I created cheap dollar tree homework areas for my kids to work and it’s been a huge help.
As part of your after-school routine get your kids doing chores at home. It’s a great way to teach them some responsibility and help out around the house.
It can be as simple as making their bed or when they get older helping with the dishes and taking out the trash. Use our age-appropriate chore chart to give you some chore ideas to start.
Adding chores to your daily routine will help make it an automatic thing they do each day and not become something they dread doing each day.
Plus having each family member chip in at home will make it easier on everyone so you have time to relax at night.
Dinner & Family Time
Dinner time is different for each family with their work schedules and after-school activities. Figure out what time of day works best for your family to eat and adjust the rest of your after-school schedule around that.
For instance, if you like to eat early maybe your kids can do their homework after dinner. But if you tend to eat late they should probably get their homework done before dinner.
Having family dinners together is a great way to hear all about your kid’s day and connect with them. It’s getting away from screen time and just focusing on each other which is a really important thing for families.
Another great way to bond as a family is to plan a family game night. Try scheduling a game night at dinner time once a month and have a blast playing games together.
Use our Family Game Night Printable to get 12 Months of pre-planned printable game ideas, food ideas, prizes, and more. Everything is already planned for you so you can just relax and have fun together.
I always add reading time into our daily routine so that we don’t forget to do it. Reading is so important for kids of all ages but it can get skipped when we get so busy.
Making 20 minutes of reading part of your daily routine will ensure your kids create good habits for life.
We like to do our family reading time before bed so everyone calms down and relaxes enough to sleep. When the kids were little we would read to them and as they got bigger the kids started reading to themselves before bed.
If your kids are going to read earlier in the day make a comfy ready nook to inspire them to hang out longer and read. We made a cool DIY reading nook out of a recycled cardboard box. It was a huge hit!
So make sure to schedule reading time into your after-school routine.
After School Activities & Sports
The after-school activites and sports are what can throw off your daily schedule. But don’t let this stop you from creating a daily routine.
Your routine does not need to come with a set time you can just keep a general checklist of what you need to do each day. Then adjust that around your after-school activites.
Printable After School Routine
Make creating your after-school routine easier with our FREE printable after-school checklist & schedule. It has all these items we listed in an easy checklist format to follow.
Hang it up on your refrigerator and get started today.
Want to create your own routine for after school? Grab our blank daily schedule and create your own routine checklist.
Be Flexible With Your Daily Routine
You do not need to be rigid about your after-school routine. This is supposed to be something to help you and if it starts stressing you out that won’t be helpful either.
Use the checklist as a guide for after school but don’t feel you need to always do each activity in order or every day. Just do your best and figure out what works for your family.
Getting Your Kids to Do the Routine
This can be the trickiest part of starting an after-school schedule or routine. The best way to set your routine is to be consistent in what you’re asking your kids to do.
If you ask them to accomplish the same tasks every day then it will just become your routine. I think the first week will be the hardest while you’re changing your kid’s old habits. But once it’s set you’ll find it to be easy to keep up.
A great time to start these routines is Back to School or after a school break like winter break. But don’t let this keep you from getting started if you are ready just go and your kids will follow.
Are you ready now to get yourself organized and start your after-school routine? I am telling you it will make such a huge difference in your stress level with the kids after school.
Once you start your daily routine things will go so much smoother. Plus the after-school checklist will keep you focused on what everyone needs to get done.
If you enjoyed this article I’d love for you to become part of the Happy Mom Hacks community with our weekly ENews. My focus is finding ways to make a mom’s life easier and our newsletter is filled with ideas to help you.
Each week get all our latest kids’ activities, quick family meals, kids’ party ideas, household hacks, and family vacation destinations.
Bonus you’ll get our free printable Would You Rather Game to use as a hilarious birthday party game or fun family game night.