Whew September flew by! Tomorrow is the Princess Fairy’s birthday and my big day covering Oprah’s tour (Sorry, I can’t stop talking about it!) I’m amazed by how well the kids have adjusted to all of the changes over the past few weeks and frankly, I’m pretty proud of them. One bit that I am really pleased about is the fact that our after school routine is pretty much stress-free. This is a huge deal for me because evenings have always had a stressed feeling in my home. Stressing to make dinner, prepare for the next day, clean house, bathe kids, fold laundry and the list goes on. Actually, the stress was a result of me just trying to be perfect and do it all before I sit and have a glass of wine or ice cream relaxing in the dim lights after the kids are fast asleep. That’s what moms do in sitcoms right?
So when my daughter started school, I decided that this time around, I would strive to do my best and not to be perfect. My goal was to remove the stress by removing the perfectionism. So I set out to build an after school routine in my home that would keep the atmosphere in our home relaxed and conducive to a happy family and not an anxious bunch. So far, my routine is working well.
I schedule everything these days because I have mommy brain. Seriously, I struggle to remember what I had for breakfast by noon on most days. If I don’t schedule it, I forget and when I remember I get anxious and stress myself and indirectly the kids. On a weekly basis, I sit down and write the family schedule for the week. This includes appointments, activities, events etc. Once, I’m finished, I study the schedule and make a plan to get everything done as simply as possible. I do this in Google Calendar, my family planner and kitchen white board.
Feed your kids a light snack before dinner
One thing I’ve learned about school aged kids in the past month that The Princess Fairy’s been attending Pre – K is that they are starving when they get out. I bring her a light snack to eat on the way home. Once she’s fed she’s able to relax and do some homework.
Make dinner as a team
You know the saying, teamwork makes the dream work and it’s true. One of the ways, I get dinner made quickly is to cook with my kids. The PrineccFairy loves to cook so I give her the responsibility to help me make dinner. I let the baby munch on ingredients while we cook. If I’m feeling funky we would listen to Pandora kids radio and dance.
Minimize use of computers/ televisions/texting/social networks
Technology is awesome when used appropriately. However, all the extra noise and screen time ruins the wholesome energy of our home. Firstly, everyone gets engrossed into their device and secondly it’s a time suck. I end up losing my focus and get behind on schedule if I’m not careful. When I do hop on social media, I try to do it while my kids are busy with a project or asleep. I also treasure this time period as it’s bonding time and I want to ensure that I am present for homework, recaps of the day and giving the kids time to communicate with us.
I give the kids a bath before making dinner because it helps them to unwind and it’s one less thing I have to worry about doing after making dinner so you can focus on relaxing with them after your family eats.
I’m sure that as the year goes by, I’ll discover more ways to make the after school hours go smoothly and I will definitely be sharing with you.
How do you keep your family’s after-school routine stress-free?