Is your after-school routine a battle? Does homework take hours upon hours when it shouldn’t take more than forty minutes? Do you constantly hear ‘just five more minutes/after I finish this last part/I’ll do it soon’ every time you bring up dinner or chores or anything that isn’t free time?
You’re not alone. Plenty of mums have trouble with motivating their kids after a long day of school – which is fair enough! They’ve been using their brains for most of the day – even when they’re socialising and doing the fun activities like art and music, so we shouldn’t surprised if they come home tired particularly the older kids. Between school friends and hobbies, they have a lot going on.
But that doesn’t mean there needs to be a fight every time you sit them down to their homework.
It’s all about routine.
You after school routine sets the tone for the rest of the afternoon and evening in your home, so try out a few of these tips and allow for an adjustment period before seeing a few changes in productivity around the place. Of course, every family and every child is different, so you may need to make some adjustments, but it’s all worth a try at least!
Avoid screens first thing
If your kids come home and crash in front of TV or computers straight away, they’re in an unproductive and not necessarily relaxing mode straight away. Although TV and video games may seem like their down time, they’re actually very stimulating and don’t help your children to decompress after a very busy day, meaning they don’t unwind from school and feel hassled and tired when they try to do their homework.
Don’t bombard them when they come home
Quality time and activities are a great way to start off their after school routine. Whether that’s having a very light snack together, playing a little outside or doing a ‘switch-off’ routine (unpacking bags and lunch boxes, hanging up coats, changing out of uniforms). Have a few options available there to allow them to transition out of work mode into a more relaxing mindset. Asking them 20 questions about their school day as they walk in the door will make them feel under pressure and regardless, they haven’t had time to process it yet. Let them relax, unwind and process and then you’ll get far better quality answers anyway.
Work out a food routine
If they eat lunch relatively close to home time, try to keep snacks upon arrival home very light, as sugar-free as possible and energy-packed. Having a sugary snack at this pint will make them hyper and jittery and have them craving more sugar. They’ll inevitably crash before dinner and want to skip straight to dessert instead of sitting down for a meal. Try to keep dinner early too, particularly in winter time. A heavy meal later at night means a) they won’t sleep well and b) they won’t settle to homework because they know food and socialisation and family time is coming soon, which will make it all the harder to concentrate after dinner time. Eat before they start home work and give them a little free time afterwards to settle down and start into home work well-fed and with no upcoming distractions.