Calming the After School Storm
How to Make After School Time Run Smoother
by Holly Duenas
Finally! The baby is asleep. You tackle that pile of laundry that had been staring at you all day long and rush to finish the dishes in the sink. You sit and relax for a minute, maybe even read five pages of book if you’re lucky. Or maybe you’ll finally get to take that shower you’ve been dreaming of. Whatever you decide, decide quick. You only have so much time until…the kids get home from school.
We all love our kids, I mean, that’s why we gave birth to them after all. But why is it that from the time they get home school until the time the husband gets home from work, utter chaos ensues? I think for most moms with kids in school this is the most stressful time of the day, dealing with tired overworked kids that have been going all day long, helping them with homework, maybe calming a fussy baby that has just woken up from his nap, and trying to get dinner cooked and on the table. If you don’t have a plan in place, it can overwhelm even a Super Mom.
Throughout my experiences in motherhood, I have found that planning is key to just about everything. A well thought-out afterschool plan can make a world of a difference in how you feel and ultimately how your kids feel too. The worst two hours of your day can become the very best hours of your day with some preparation.
First, have a healthy snack ready and on your table for when your children arrive home from school. Not only will this give them something to immediately go to, it will give them brain power to successfully complete their homework afterwards. I would also recommend sitting with your children while they eat and using this time to ask them about their day. I have found that mealtimes (and yes, even snack times!) are a great opportunity to communicate and connect with my children. I miss them after a long day at school and I treasure the moments when we can talk over a plate of banana muffins.
Second, to avoid afterschool arguments and fighting amongst siblings, have your children do their schoolwork in their own designated spots, preferably separate rooms. They each need peace and quiet to accomplish their work. Distractions from each other, television, radio or any electronics can ruin their train of thought and waste valuable time.
And finally, allow your children to relax, read, play outside, or even watch television (yes, I just said that!) while you cook dinner. Allowing them free time to do what they want to do after a long day of work is important. They need some time to just “be kids” and relax. And if you choose to let them do this while you are trying to get something done, chances are, they’ll just enjoy their free time. And you will too. You’ll finally be able to have peace and quiet while you finish cooking dinner. And then dinner will be ready, your husband will come home from work, and you’ll be happy. And when Mama’s happy, everyone’s happy.
olly Duenas is a stay-at-home-mama of 4 kiddos (with one more on the way!), wife of one studly man, hard core blogger, and creator of the new family fun site, www.myskoop.com