After a long day of school, the last thing kids want to do is more work. But without some structure and guidance, they can easily fall into bad habits. That’s why creating an after school checklist and routine is so important. By having a set of guidelines to follow, kids will know what they need to do each day (and won’t put it off until the last possible minute). Knowing how to create an effective after school checklist for your family can help you put some of that daily structure in place for your kids. Let’s get started!
Benefits of an after-school checklist
An after-school checklist can have a lot of benefits for your family and your kids. Implementing a routine for my family has been essential for my sanity. It also helps my kids feel like they have more control in their lives. Here are some of the most important benefits you’ll see as you implement an after school checklist:
By having a checklist, kids will know what is expected of them each day. This can help reduce arguments and confusion about what needs to be done. Our kids love knowing ahead of time what they will need to do. It’s comforting for my kids to look at a list and know what I expect and what they’ll need to do in order to relax.
A checklist provides kids with a sense of structure and routine. This can be really helpful for kids who need some stability in their lives. It can also help them feel more organized and prepared for the day and even the next morning.
Give your kids some independence by letting them complete tasks on their own. This is an important part of growing up! By having an after-school checklist, you can help your kids learn to be more responsible and independent while still being supportive as parents. I don’t know about you, but I don’t love to nag! An after school checklist lets your kids own the process. You don’t need to nag. Just ask them what they have left on their list.
A well-organized checklist will help kids move through their tasks quickly and efficiently. Cut out the fights, confusion, and forgotten homework. This can save time and stress in the long run!
Sense of accomplishment
Completing tasks on a checklist can give kids a sense of accomplishment. This can help boost their confidence and make them feel good about themselves. My kids love it when they finish all the things on their list!
Routines and consistency
Having a set routine after school can help kids feel more secure and stable. My oldest child loves to know what is happening next. A checklist is so helpful for him during the after school hours. If you have a child who struggles with transitions or change, a checklist can help your family too.
An after-school checklist can help kids be more organized in their lives. This can lead to less chaos and stress, and make it easier for them to find things when they need them. The things you do after school also help you keep your evenings and before school times less chaotic!
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of having an after-school checklist, let’s discuss how to create one!
How to create an effective after school checklist
Creating an effective after-school checklist can be a bit tricky but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to get started:
Think about your child’s needs and goals for the day. What tasks do they need help with? What are their priorities? Is there anything that would make life easier or more organized in general (e.g., unpacking lunch box or backpack)?
Create an easy to follow list of tasks (with pictures) and write them on index cards. You can also use a whiteboard if that’s easier for kids to read from afar. You can also grab ours below! I like to laminate it, or pop it into a picture frame so my kids can use a dry erase marker to mark things off when they finish a task.
Don’t feel like printing a checklist? Grab this pre-made one! I love that it includes pictures for younger kids.
The next step is creating the schedule! This part might take some trial-and-error but once you figure out what works best for your family, it will be worth the effort. Here are some ideas for things you can include on your checklist:
Putting away backpacks/shoes/coats/etc.
This is a great task for kids to do each day after school because it helps them stay organized and keeps their belongings from getting lost or misplaced.
Making lunches ahead of time
This will ensure that your child has everything they need before heading out the door in the morning (which means less stress on you in the morning!)
Eating a healthy snack
This will give them some energy before starting their homework and helps prevent hangry kids who are cranky because they’re hungry!
This is where kids can unwind and relax after being at school all day. It’s also an opportunity for them to socialize with friends or siblings if they have any around the house during this time period.
This is the time where kids need to focus on their schoolwork before anything else. Your kids can also use this time to study for tests or get ahead on their homework.
Do a chore
This can be anything from taking out the trash to folding laundry. Assigning a chore every day will help your child learn about responsibility and how to complete tasks on their own.
Reading is an essential skill learned in the early grades, and developed over time. Most schools require some time spent on reading. This can be done during homework time, or as a standalone activity.
This is a great time to teach kids how important hygiene is! It’s also an excellent habit that will last them a lifetime. Also…if the last few years have shown us anything, it’s that washing hands is an essential life skill.
This can include getting ready for sports practice, dance class or music lessons. It’s also helpful to have kids pack their bags ahead of time so they’re not rushing out at the last minute trying to find everything they need!
It doesn’t need to be perfect
The after school transition may not always run smoothly! It won’t be perfect. But it will get better over time. Just do your best to be flexible and patient with yourself, your kids, and the process!
Have spaces prepared
Does your child have a spot to hang their backpack? Do they know where they can find a pencil to do homework? If not, take some time to create these spaces in your home. This will help kids know where they should go and what they should do when they get home from school.
It’s okay to start small
If creating a full after-school checklist seems daunting, start small! Add one or two tasks to your child’s current routine that you think would make life easier.
Prepare what you can before your kids get home
This might sound like more work for you, but getting out a book your child likes to read, and setting out healthy snacks can help. This will help them get settled into their routine without any fuss.
There will be some days that your kids can’t (or won’t) have the capacity to finish their after school checklist. That’s okay! Let them know that you understand and then see if there are other ways they can be responsible or help out.
Keep it age appropriate
The activities your four-year-old needs to do after school might look different than what an eight-year old does. By keeping the tasks age appropriate, you’ll be more likely to see successful results from this checklist!
Creating an after school routine can help your kids have a smooth transition from school to home. By creating checklists and being organized, you’ll be more likely to see great results with this system!
Do you need more help creating routines for your family? Read: Create a Positive Morning Routine for Kids