How many times has your current after school routine failed you? Like all the times when your child drops their backpack on the floor and leaves their shoes in the living room. Times like this is when I wish I would have had an after school routine chart way sooner.
I mean think about. How much less stressful would it be to not have to consistently remind your children what tasks they need to do once they’re done with school? No matter if they attend school in-person or homeschool.
Having a set routine after school just makes things so much easier for you, and even teaches your kids some quality characteristics that will help them later down the road. So here, I’m going to help you create your stress-free routine with these after school routine checklists.
[Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission if clicked at no extra cost to you. Though the opinions remain my own.]
Are checklists even good for kids?
The short answer to this question is yes. Checklists are a great way to help kids better understand what is expected of them and allows them to visualize their progress. In fact, it’s even been said that simple checklists can improve learning.
But in addition to understanding what they need to do, it can also give them some sense of control and ownership of their duties. By giving them their daily routine after school, they begin to familiarize themselves with the tasks and can therefore be held accountable for anything they do not do.
All of this leads to a higher level of independence and responsibility. Wouldn’t it be awesome to know that a simple, visual routine chart could help your kids achieve so much more than just getting tasks done?
I think so and I’ve seen it happen with my own 7-year old son.
Before Implementing This After School Routine
However, I will say that before you start implementing a new after school routine with your kids, you should let them know that it’s happening. This way, you can explain to them what each task is and let them become familiar with this new change.
There are also a few things you will need in order for this routine to work at its maximum potential (many of which you may already have at home):
And below, I will share two different after school routines (one for homeschoolers and one for kids attending school in-person). If any of these tasks are ones you are not currently doing with your child, it may be a good idea to review the below with them as well.
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After School Routine Chart for Kids
Alright, so here are all the tasks listed in the after school routine chart for kids. You will be shocked at how easy it is for our elementary schoolers to begin doing these on their own.
So take some time to discuss these with your children and begin having stress-and-repetition-free afternoons.
1) Put away jacket and shoes (or clean up homework station)
Once the school day is over, it doesn’t mean that the structure-nature ends.
For in-person schoolers
If your children are attending school in-person, then the first thing that they should do when they get home is to hang up their jacket or sweater and put away their shoes.
Too many times I would find my son’s shoes just laying in the middle of the living room to the point where I would lose it. But did that really change anything? Nope. It’s kinda just in their nature as they are comfortable in their home.
So, make it a habit for them to put their things where they go as soon as they step foot inside the house.
For homeschoolers or distance learners
For kids attending school from home, this looks a bit different since they are probably not wearing shoes or jackets at home LOL. So instead, you will want them to clean up and organize their homework station.
They should absolutely not be leaving a disaster behind even if they are working at their own homework station or desk. Remind them that just how they have to pick up after themselves at school, they need to do the same at home.
And if this is a new practice, help them out by showing them what their desk needs to look like at the end of the day.
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2) Empty backpack (or take out important papers)
Once again, this step will look different depending on how your children are being schooled.
For in-person schoolers
Once your kids have put their belongings where they go, you’ll want them to empty out their backpack. Now I don’t literally mean take everything out, no.
But you do want them to take out anything that doesn’t belong in there overnight. For example, if they took lunch to school then they need to put away their lunch box and place the containers in the sink. Same thing goes if they take a water bottle to school as it also goes in the sink and shouldn’t stay in the backpack.
You will also want them to take out any important papers that you may need to see or sign (like their report card or school flyers). In addition, have them take out their homework to have it ready when it’s time to get to it.
For homeschoolers or distance learners
So even though my son was doing distance learning last year, I still had him use a kids school planner like this one to write down his homework assignments.
If distance learning, more than likely I will need to take a picture of his assignment and then submit into the portal. This makes it super easy for me to identify what I need to turn in for him.
In addition, if the teacher mentioned anything important for parents to know, I have him take note of that as well so he doesn’t forget to let me know.
Now, if you’re child is homeschooled, a planner can still help them keep track of which assignments they need to work on each day. However, in this case, you and your child could work on filling in the planner together.
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3) Snack time
Kids are always hungry for snacks… like alwaysss. So whenever they get done from school, snacks are usually the first thing on their mind. And since school is over well before dinnertime, this is the most logical time for them to have a snack anyways.
By now, your kids should know which snacks are approved for them to eat and which aren’t. If not, it may be a conversation you should have or perhaps place their approved snacks in a reachable location (like bottom cabinets). Remember, the goal here is to have them ask you less questions and for you to repeat yourself less.
So make it known what snacks they can have after school and give them some time to enjoy it.
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4) Rest break
And of course there needs to be a rest break which is why it’s included in their after school routine chart. After being at school (or being schooled) for several hours, they are likely a little burnt out and deserve a rest break before they go back to doing schoolwork the next day.
Depending on how much time you have between the end of schooling and dinner is how long you make their rest break be. Normally, I’ll allow anywhere from 20-30 minutes for my son to do an activity at home.
Some days I’ll let him have some screen time to watch TV or play video games while other days I’ll tell him to play with his toys. And if the weather is nice outside, then out he goes to jump on the trampoline or play basketball.
You may want to consider giving them your own list of approved activities that they can do during this rest break.
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Once they have relaxed a little and have eaten their snack, it’s time to get back to work. This is when they will complete any and all homework that is due the next day. Typically, this task can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a little over an hour and may or may not need some involvement from you.
We do want to make sure that they do not rush through their homework but we also don’t want them to take forever. It’s all about helping them find a balance on working quickly but efficiently. Plus sometimes, they may take their time on purpose to avoid doing their chores later (so be on the lookout for this).
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6) Independent reading
Once they are done with their homework, send them off to get some reading done (if it wasn’t a part of their homework already). I’d say at least 20 minutes of independent reading is good for younger children.
I know that reading is always somethings kids like to do. So to make their reading a bit more interesting, you can get them personalized books to make them feel like they’re a part of the story. I got my son these and they became his favorite books!
Now the time it takes them to read a book may vary depending on how long it took them to complete their homework. If their homework took longer than usual and is getting close to dinnertime, then perhaps consider leaving this out for the day. You can always still read them a book during their bedtime routine.
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7) Do chores
This one is super important and I prefer him not to skip out on this one. My son has different chores depending on the day, most of which should take him no more than 30 minutes or so to complete.
And of course, children tend to try to get out of this task so it’s important that we keep them accountable of their contribution to the household.
Using a weekly chores chart has greatly helped as he knows exactly what is expected of him. Very similarly to their after school routine chart, it’s teaching them responsibility and accountability. So grab your free weekly chores chart below and tell them to reference it once they get to this task.
8) Get ready for the next day
Lastly, once they have completed all their daily after school routine tasks, it’s time to get things ready for the next day. This includes:
– preparing their lunchbox
– putting their homework away
– placing their backpack, shoes and jacket near the exit
– getting their clothes picked out
This will save you tremendous amount of time in the morning and literally only take a few minutes to complete.
The entire routine after school can be done before dinnertime if your children come straight home once school is out.
But if you’re a working mom that works outside of the home, then the next section is for you.
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What if my kids go to daycare after school?
Your after school routine charts also come with a blank copy in case you need to change things around a bit.
I work outside of the home as well so know that you have very limited time from the time you get home until bedtime. The good news is that most of this can still apply, but it will be a more condensed version in a different order.
These tasks below are ones that they can complete either at daycare or with whomever watches them after school:
– Eat their snack
– Take a rest break
– Complete homework
– Independent reading
By the time you get to them, they should already have the above completed so you won’t need to worry about it when you guys get home. However, the other tasks are ones that will still need to be done and I recommend them in this order:
– Put away jacket and shoes
– Empty backpack
– Do chores
– Get things ready for the next day
So yeah, it’s pretty much the same thing but with a few less tasks needed to be done at home.
Of course, you are free to rearrange this in the best way you see fit for your family and that’s why the blank after school routine charts have been made available to you as well.
Easy to Implement After School Routine
Now isn’t that a super easy and put together after school routine that you can implement and start following right away? It’s honestly been the one we have been following for a while and has worked out great.
I love how it not only helps make our afternoons easier but teaches our kids some good characteristics as well. So simplify your daily routine with these printable after school checklists here.
And tell me mama, how does your routine after school look like and how can it be improved? I’m always open to new ways on how to improve my own routine as well so please share your thoughts with me. I would love to hear from you!
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