This doesn’t have anything to do with money. But it does have to do with simple living, which is another topic that I love. I was inspired to write about my kids before and after school routines by Maggie over at Square Pennies.
Before and after school can be stressful and crazy. Making sure everyone is fed, packed up, and out the door on time is very hard! Kids get sidetracked, or are purposely slow in hopes they will be late for school. I HATE yelling at my kids before school. That is no way to start the day. So here is what I do to make the morning and afternoons as smooth as possible.
7:00 Wake up get dressed
7:10 Breakfast for the kids (they make their own), some light picking up and turning off of lights for me. (I shower after the bus leaves but it would also work if I got up earlier than the kids and got ready.)
7:15 I come downstairs and start making their lunches while they eat.
7:30 Morning chores. My 9 year old cleans the downstairs bathroom. My 5 year old unloads the dishwasher. I walk the dog.
7:50 Out the door.
No TV or computers before school. Period. Nothing will distract us all like cartoons and email.
I also refuse to argue about waking up. My son rises with the sun so he’s not a problem but my daughter will sleep all day. I can picture families all over the nation starting their days with fights about getting up in the morning. Not here. I set her alarm and she better get up with it. I have had days where I will give one warning from the doorway and that’s it. We had one morning where I was pretty sure she had fallen asleep after I gave her my one warning but I refused to go up and check on her. She came down at the last possible second. I’ve told her that if she misses the bus we are walking the 2 miles to school… and I’ll do it too! She’s never tested me. She knows…
Every year is different when it comes to homework because each teacher handles it differently. Because of that we are still getting that part worked out for this year. They have only been in school for 3 days so far. But here is the general idea…
3:50 Off the bus. Lunch boxes out of backpacks and put away. Lunch dishes are put in the sink and water bottles are refilled and put in the fridge. Backpacks are put on the kitchen table and little booties are either on the couch or in their rooms. They are in charge of this… I just stand there and direct them. “Don’t forget your water bottle!”
3:55 I go through each backpack and then send it upstairs. If my 9 year old has homework she will do it up in her room before dinner. My 5 year old hasn’t had much for homework so far. I haven’t really worked out how we are going to go about doing his homework yet since I need to cook dinner before dinner (obviously) and can’t help him. We might have to tag team this, hubby can be on homework duty while I cook or vice versa.
4:30ish: Cook dinner
5:00 Eat dinner
5:30 Clean up dinner and everyone does their nighttime chores. My son clears and wipes off the kitchen table, my daughter dries the dishes and then sweeps the kitchen floor.
6:00 Bath/ shower then relaxing (aka; watching TV)
7:30 Bedtime routine starts, which includes making sure backpacks are packed and ready for the morning. We lay out clothes for my 5 year old but not for my 9 year old. She doesn’t mind picking them out in the morning. If she struggled to be dressed on time then I would have her lay them out before bed.
Yes, my kids go to bed at 8:00. Even my 9 year old. Granted, she is allowed to read in her bed and I don’t monitor what time she actually goes to sleep, but I’ve told her that if she has trouble getting up in the morning then I will start having lights out at a set time. I’ve offered to let her stay up a bit later but she would rather read a little and go to bed early. Such her momma’s girl!
It really doesn’t take much effort to keep a routine going once you have it in place. If before and afterschool routines are causing you stress then start changing them. Decide what part is bothering you the most and change one thing. Once that is in place, change one more. And so on. I think morning routines are probably the most stressful because there is a time limit placed on them. The irony about this is that getting enough sleep is probably the key to making the morning go smoother. And getting more sleep means going to bed earlier, which requires a stable nighttime routine. But either way… you can do it!
What are your routines? I’d love to hear!