What’s your after-school routine?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the after-school hours are the most challenging part of the day.

And all the moms said? Amen.

This is our 6th year of school and every day before I drive to pick my boys up from school, I take a deep breath to strengthen myself for the next few hours.

It’s chaotic most days but over the years, through trial and error, we’ve developed a pretty good routine that keeps everyone relatively sane (most days).
My boys get out of school at 3pm. As soon as we get in the door they are supposed to take off their shoes, hang up their backpacks and WASH THEIR HANDS.

We do these three things every single freakin’ day: They still need half a dozen reminders to get them done in the first 5 minutes of walking in the door.

(During this coming-in time, I also set up my 2 year old with Paw Patrol in our bedroom. I always have to wake him up to get the boys from school so TV helps with the waking up process).

Next, I remind them to eat a snack. Sometimes I don’t remind them and this is a massive fail on my part because the HANGRY MONSTER comes roaring out at 4:30 if they don’t eat a snack.
Then we argue because at 4:30 it is almost dinner time and then I am a “mean mom” for making them wait, and I’m all like, “why didn’t you eat a snack when you got home???”

Funny how familiar this scene is. So, yes. I need to remind them to eat a snack at 3pm. We gotta keep the hangry at bay.

Sometimes I make them popcorn. Sometimes they eat apples or oranges or raid the goldfish carton. Sometimes they eat me out of house and home…that is if they remember to eat.

(I need to remind myself to eat too. Sometimes I make a smoothie that is full of fruit, veggies, and greek yogurt. Sometimes I just drink a big glass of water. Sometimes I am the Hangry Monster….)

Next, I let my boys watch TV until 4pm.

For a long time, I was very against TV until after homework. Work before play, boys! Chop! Chop! We would dive right into homework and wade through that maelstrom until we were finished, darn it!

Let’s be frank: it was horrible pretty much every single day.

But…when Benji was in counseling (aka when I was in counseling), our counselor suggested letting him have some down time after school to give him a mental break and let him “detox” from the day.

I was hesitant as I usually used TV as a reward for getting through homeworkageddon.

But, we tried it. And we haven’t looked back since.

TV time after school really helps to calm the after-school crazy.

I can check the homework folders in peace, without having to answer a million questions about multiplication and grammar at the same time.
My kids veg out and relax.
We all collectively BREATHE.

Then, the rule is, at 4pm, the TV goes off and it’s homework time.
My boys are in 4th grade and sometimes they can do it on their own but we’re dealing with ADHD, Autism, and Learning disabilities at our house so I usually need to supervise a great deal.

Sometimes I tag my husband when he gets home from work so he can take over for me if I am maxed out. We get through it. It’s not usually fun, but we get through it.

By 5 or so, homework is done (sometimes) and I’m ready to start drinking making dinner and we move into the Evening Hours.

That’s a whole ‘nother post.
I have no wisdom or great routine to share about that.
We’re all just surviving until bedtime.

And all the parents said? Amen.

What’s your after school routine?
What’s working—or not working—for you right now?

I'd love to hear your story!