I’ve met Naomi from Seven Cherubs, mum to seven children, quite a few times now, and she is lovely: down to earth and full of encouragement. On the outset of the new school year, I’m glad to have her here, sharing her after school routine.
My After School Routine
Having a great after school routine has allowed me to connect with my children in a way I never thought possible. When my children come home from school, is now one of my favourite times of the day to spend with them. They are normally bursting with excitement and full of stories from the day they had learning from teachers and playing with friends. All they want to do is tell me every detail of what happened. I love it!
As a large family, hearing all of the stories from my children is often a difficult task. They normally want to tell me what happened during their day all at the same time and with very loud voices, which normally results in a yelling match. To make this process run a little smoother I set up a great after school routine and tradition that has worked really well in our home and is far more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Here is the process we go through for our after school routine:
As soon as the kids get home from school they place their lunch boxes and school notes on the kitchen bench and put their school bags in their room. They also get any homework out of their bags and place it on the dining room table. This way I can see what they ate for lunch (or what they did not eat for lunch!) and the school bags are out of the way so we do not trip over them as we try to talk to each other. They are also then prepared to start any homework that needs to be done that night. I also ask them to place homework on the dining room table so that I can see who has school work that needs to be completed.
We always sit down at the table after school for a snack. I mix it up with having healthy snacks and treats during the week. Having a snack available for the kids to eat helps them to relax and hang around the table longer so then they will have a chat to me, (great for teenagers who are not as willing to share as much some days), and helps to hold them off until dinner time. Chatting about the day over a nice muffin or dip and crackers is so much more fun than just sitting at the table and talking.
As the children tell me stories of what happened during the day I also ask them questions to keep track of how they are really doing at school. I have three questions that I always ask my children: Who did you play with today? What games did you play? How did you feel at school today? I have found that asking these three questions has helped me to find out who my children’s friends are, what type of games they are playing and if they are appropriate or not and how they are generally feeling at school. It also allows me to find out if any of my children may have been bullied and if they have been hurt in any way. You may notice that I do not specifically ask any questions about what they learned about at school that day. My children generally tell me the answer to that question in the stories they tell me and I save those type of questions for when we are doing homework together.
After the snack and chat is over I then help my children do homework. During this time of helping them with homework I then continue to talk to any children I may be worried about or feel that need some extra attention. I might hug them a little more, give them some extra praise or even take them aside to ask them if there is anything they want to talk to me about privately. I also use this time to discuss with them any issues that may have come up during our after school chat.
I have found it very beneficial to put the time and energy into establishing a good after school routine. It has taken consistency and planning to make it happen and now as a family we are feeling the wonderful benefits that a good routine can bring.
Do you have an after school routine?
What works well in your home?
Kelly Be A Fun MumFebruary 11, 2013 at 6:46 am
My after school routine is very much like your Naomi, depending on the day. As soon as the kids get home, they first must do their ‘home jobs’ which is put the lunch box on the bench, any paperwork/notes in the ‘school pile’ and their bags go on our rack out the back door. Then it’s afternoon tea. We don’t talk very much at afternoon tea time (usually they take afternoon tea outside) because we are at a different school this year, and it’s further away from our home, so it’s been really nice to have that time to chat to the kids about their day in the car on the way home, because they are all seated in one place. After afternoon tea it’s outside time. My older girls do their homework for the hour after my younger two go to bed. So the younger 2 go to bed at 7, and the older 2 go to bed at 8.
On two days a week we have extra curricular activities — piano lessons, and basket ball practice. On those days, the school jobs get done when we get home.
Naomi EllisFebruary 11, 2013 at 8:24 pm
Sounds like a great routine Kelly. Love how you have it staggered and worked out to suit everyone! Thanks so much for having me! N x
MistyFebruary 11, 2013 at 8:11 am
I too always ask my son the same questions he has only just begun Kinder but I have been doing this whilst he is at preschool too. I value after school so much as I realise how short the time is between kids getting home from school and going to bed :(. I want to spend qaulity time with my kids whenever I can.
Naomi EllisFebruary 11, 2013 at 9:44 pm
Love this Misty! The time really is short and we only get to have an influence on them for a short time during that period. Precious moments. They grow up so fast! N x
MichelleFebruary 11, 2013 at 8:34 am
Our afternoon routine is quite similar with our 7 children Naomi. Generally lunch boxes are placed on the bench followed by bags put away in their rooms. Afternoon tea is generally communal;a large fruit platter, dip/salsa and crudités/ rice crackers alternated daily with either toasted banana bread or other yummy home baked treat, some afternoons it’s just a fruit smoothie!
I’ve modified my questions to 2 “tell me something wonderful about your day and something not so happy” other than that, I then allow the conversation to flow. We have 2 television free afternoons where homework takes place. Some afternoons we have ballet, netball or rugby training, however only ballet has resumed and I’m enjoying this slower afternoon pace (the calm before the storm 🙂 ) If it is a sports free afternoon, bathing/ showering commences from 5pm. As I’m also currently expecting, I’ve been attempting to get dinner prepared and cooked/baked early on in the day and the evening flows much harmoniously.
Naomi EllisFebruary 13, 2013 at 6:26 am
Hi Michelle, Love your comment and routine that you have happening in your home. We currently have no sports after school and I am simply loving it! I have signed the kids up to everything available at school and it seems to be working really well for us. I find making dinner early in the day gives me free time for homework as well. N x
PennyFebruary 12, 2013 at 5:56 am
Great tips Naomi! I’ve only been a school mum for two weeks and really needed something to help squeeze the important stuff out of Miss Poss. Sitting down and relaxing with her after we return home I a nice (non pushy) way of encouraging a chat. Thank you!
Naomi EllisFebruary 13, 2013 at 6:27 am
How exciting to be a new school mum. I really hope you enjoy the experience and can use the afternoon to connect with your cherub even more. N x
SallywestacottFebruary 19, 2014 at 8:04 pm
Son8 is in year three and does tennis, swim squad, soccer and AFL during the week
. Daughters 18mths and. 3 are at daycare one day a week and kindy 2 days a week respectively. It a happens a our house. The big focus for us for son8 is homework, but we make it fun. Every week we have surprise Tuesdays where we go from school to a park, a wharf, a beach and we have a mini picnic there and son8 does his homework alfresco. It’s amazing the quality of output and how fun it is for all of us to play on the swings or hunt for crabs. We mix it up and our kids love the change.
TashFebruary 20, 2014 at 10:49 am
Heya..our afterschool routine is similar to yours Naomi. Our kids are on the bus in the arvo for 45minutes, so theyre pretty puffed by the time they get home, especially the younger 2 who are 7 & 8. Ours get home after I pick them up off the bus, and they put their lunchbox and school correspondence books/notes etc on the kitchen bench so I can flcik through them. They then get changed and have a bit of a munch on either a fruit platter I prepared earlier or bikkies and dip. They then get 1 hour to go and play outside – I love to let them be kids as much as possible – or we will go for a drive to the creek for a wander or to see what the workers are up to on the farm if its kid friendly. Then its home for a homework-half-hour. One kid will do mathletics or reading eggs on the computer – the smaller ones because they normally have to only read a homereader book, do a quick spelling test and some times tables – then hubby and I help the 2 big kids aged 10 and 12. Hubby is great at maths and science and Im great at spelling and reading, so he takes one and I take the other & then vice versa. When homework is over and done with, its shower time for the kids and I get dinner ready. First kid in the shower sets the table when they get out and dressed. After we eat tea, we sit around the table and do our fave and least fave part of the day (all of us!) which is great and often pretty humourous. The kids then go to bed and get 15 minutes of reading time before lights out. When the lights go out, thats it and they arent allowed out of bed unless they need to go to the toilet, but before bed, they all brush their teeth and go to the ooo anyhow, so normally they just zonk out, ready for their 7am wake up call next morning, ready to catch the bus at 7:45!
School / Homework Station | Be A Fun MumAugust 25, 2014 at 10:03 pm
[…] Benefits of an after school routine […]
RosemaryFebruary 3, 2015 at 9:47 pm
I wonder if there are any working parents who can share their routine. I struggle to have meaningful conversations like mentioned above when I pick the kids up from school on my wAy home from work at 6pm. Rush to feed the family, bath kids, feed animals, prepare for next day and trying to help the grade 2 with homework, by the way I also have a 3 year old. Any suggestions would be great!!
AnneFebruary 5, 2015 at 12:44 am
I hear you. I have worked full time as a lawyer and now part time until I go back back to normal hours. Back by 7 some nights or pick up both children go home change for gymnastics back out again. Wait for 40 mins home by 7 then preparing dinner, homework, chatting, boobing my youngest sat on the sofa. The only routine I have is homework is done as a priority, I shop on certain days, I make sure they are in bed by a certain time, we always have stories. I prefer not having the pressure of a routine, some days we eat out, others we have bath time play, we always talk so I know what is going on at school, we play a lot, eat together. Do what is important for you and your family. Never compare your life with others because we are all individual. Nothing is static as a family we are constantly changing.
Kelly - Be A Fun MumFebruary 5, 2015 at 7:42 am
Love this Anne.
Kelly - Be A Fun MumFebruary 5, 2015 at 7:42 am
Hi Rosemary, I have someone writing a post about their after school routine who works outside of the home so watch out for that in the next couple of weeks.