Inside: Looking to strengthen your relationship with your kids? Connect with your kids after school and make a routine that provides intentional time with your children as well as promotes productivity. There are more school days than weekends, so check out this 5 part routine to help strengthen your family’s relationships.
Afternoons after the school pick-up can get chaotic. Depending on what activities your children are involved in, all the tasks you need to do still for the afternoon, and having an idea on what will be for dinner all come rushing at you every week day.
No need to panic though, if you build a routine that sets up time for intentional time with your kids, and productivity for everyone you will be set to have a pleasant afternoon.
If you can section your afternoon into these 5 phases, then you will set out a foundation to strengthen your family relationships each day all the while getting everything done.
1 | Spend Time and Connect with Kids Right After School
It can be easy get to get caught up in the rush of life to remember to slow down, and take some intentional one-on-one time with your child. Though, after school is a great time to try and fit this in.
Slow down, and make a routine every school day to sit down with your child for 20 minutes. Have a coffee/tea/hot chocolate together and have a chat. Really take time to listen to them. Look them in the eyes, ask questions, and really connect without any interruptions.
Turn your phone on silent and put it away. Ask them to do the same if they have a phone. This is your time to listen to things that are said, and not said.
Your kids will remember this time later, these short moments you slowed down and actually talked.
Ask Better Questions, Past “How was your day”
How was school? Fine.
Then the conversation ended. These one worded responses certainly don’t foster a good conversation, nor reconnect us with our kids after a long day. So how do you get past the one worded responses?
You can use open ended questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes/no/fine.
Open-ended questions such and “How” , “What” and “Why” questions. These types of questions get kids talking because they open the door to more than just one-word answers.
Here are some examples you can use:
- What activity did you enjoy doing the most today?
- What was your favorite subject or class today?
- How did you help somebody today?
- Tell me a story from today?
- How did you work on art project today?
- Who had the best lunch today? What was it?
- Why did you enjoy the new book you read today?
- What challenged you the most today?
Using these open-ended questions can get the conversation started. Then just listen, and follow up with more open ended questions to get more information about the topic they brought up.
This is a great way to start learning about your child’s interests, struggles, and mindset. If they have taken a strong interest in history you might try and work in a visit to the museum one weekend. Or rent a documentary on a topic they have found interesting.
Connect with your kids and get to know them as the individuals they are. The more connected you are as a family, the more willing they usually are to contribute to chores, discussions, and family time activities.
Other Ideas for Having a Chat:
Sometimes sitting across the table from each other can seem intimidating for conversation, so here are some other ideas of environments you can get the conversation started.
- Walk the dog – Take pup on a walk when you get home to stretch your legs and chat.
- Go on Bike Ride – Put your helmets on and do a loop around the neighborhood.
- Make a Nutritious Snack Together – Make something together while having a conversation.
2 | Have a Nutritional Pick-Me-Up Ready
Not sure about you, but usually after school everyone seems starved and ready for a good pick-me-up snack to boost their energy for the afternoon.
Have healthy snacks ready to go, or make one together during your connection time.
I try to always have our fruit bowl stocked so that apple slices with peanut butter, banana, peach, or grapes are only a minute away from being plated up and enjoyed.
If you are good with meal prepping, making some snacks at the beginning of the week to be munched on throughout the week is a great idea too. Bite sized quiches, bran blueberry muffins, overnight oats with fruit, and similar are all great ideas you could also have on stand-by for an after school snack.
3 | Let Them Unwind
I like to think of school as my child’s “work day”. Often recess time is quite minimal these days, and the rest of those school hours are filled with brain challenging activities.
So, just like us when we first get home and settled, we like to have a bit of time to unwind for a short bit. This could range from 10, 20, 30, or 40 minutes depending on what is going on for your family.
Allowing for this time let’s them take a load off and get some self-care time in to reboot their moods. Let them play and unwind from the intensity of the school day.
Often after this they will be more happy and cooperative to tackle homework or household chores.
4 | Have A Set Routine for Homework/Activities
You are the parent, so you need to be organized. At the beginning of the week you need to write out what everyone’s activities are for the week (if there are any), and know when any appointments are.
As your child’s role model, if you are prepared and stress free for the day so will your child. If you nearly forgot they had sport practice and are rushing they will absorb this stress.
All children thrive on routine (this isn’t the same as a rigid schedule). They know what to expect each day and can feel confident about knowing what’s going on. The importance of routine throughout the day for your kids can be the difference between happy compromise and chaos.
Have your children tackle homework at the same time each day. Or at the same time depending on the “type” of day it is. If it is an activity day then have them tackle it either before or after (depending on the time of day the activity takes place) each time it’s an “activity day”.
Don’t switch it up or let them decide on the day. It should be routine and predictable. On activity days they tackle homework after the activity and on regular days they do homework after unwind time. If it happens to be a late afternoon activity, then they might do homework before that activity on “activity days”.
Keep it the same and keep it routine. This will prevent conflict and arguments. It will also make your life more predictable so you can manage the other tasks you need to do on those days.
5 | Get Them to Help with Dinner
An important life skill every person needs to learn, how to make nutritious meals. By getting your kids involved with dinner time you also open up a huge opportunity for more family bonding time.
Whether they only assist with the meal prep and you do the cooking park, or they help all the way through, you are spending quality time together.
You can have one child help each day and take turns alternating days, or have everyone work together as a team. This is especially fun on pizza making nights.
Not only do you get to talk to them about anything else that’s on their mind, you also get to teach them about cooking, and share life skills at the same time.
Enjoy Time Together Even on School Days
They grow up so quick, so we must squeeze in as much quality time together with our children as we can. Even a school day can be filled with meaningful time spent together. As there are way more school days than weekends, so use them as days for bonding just as much as weekends.
Here’s to more quality family time together this year!
Before you go…
- Is life feeling chaotic? It might be time to reflect on whether you are leaving you family life to chance or choice?
- Looking to Reboot & Reorganize Your Life This Weekend? Do it all in one day and tackle the tasks that will make an impact.
- Feel like your kids never pitch in? Here’s 10 Tips to Prevent Raising Lazy Children.