There’s less than 60 days left until 2020. There is no time like the present to solidify the structure of the afternoon routine in your home. Doing this will help create consistency and predictability, which are the two cornerstones for stress reduction, benefiting kids and their parents alike.
Everyday is a blank slate and a new opportunity to take the steps in a direction that will help you and your child experience less frustration and less stress during homework completion.
A meaningful homework-completion experience requires parents to conduct careful planning. Depending on the age of the student, the time they come home from school, and the time they go to bed, there are about five or six hours of time every evening that need to be carefully planned out. The time should be appropriately chunked into 5-6 manageable segments for each day of the school week.
Generally speaking, all families would seek to incorporate the following tasks:
after school routines, homework, chores, family time, extracurricular activities, and getting ready for bed routines.
The key is structuring these afternoon and evening hours for optimal success considering there are so many tasks to accomplish before bedtime.
Let’s get started!
First and foremost, purchase two dry erase boards. Boards that have built-in dry erase markers with the eraser on top of the marker cap are very useful.
One dry erase marker is to write out the entire afternoon from start to finish.
The second dry erase board is to write out the homework tasks from start to finish.
Now, let’s structure and sequence the afternoon and evening by choosing a visual layout that works bet for you and your child.
This is a great starting point. Other families might use the dry erase board to write out their afternoon with more specific details. It really depends on the needs of each particular family.
Once you have structured your afternoon and evening, review it and see if any adjustments need to be made. If you are content with this routine setup, introduce it to your child in a positive, caring manner. If your child is hesitant or resistant, this is when it would be appropriate to consider the use points attached to each task for earning a motivating reward. Rewards could include: choice of dessert that night, pick out movie for Family Movie Night, or weekend trip to Sky Zone. Not all kids need to be extrinsically rewarded and might be very amenable to following the after school routines all on their own.
Go ahead and start each new day with the hopeful mindset that the homework-completion experience will begin to become more positive now that a structure is being implemented. Do not wane from this structure as any “missed days” send the message to your child that inconsistencies are acceptable. It also might be very difficult for them to get back on track of building these new skills into their day.
After following these new routines for a week, pat yourself and your child on the back. Remember, it is recommended that school-age children ages six through thirteen get plenty of sleep, anywhere from 9 - 11 hours per night. Ten hours of sleep would be to wakeup around 6:15-6:30am the next morning, which for some families might perfect and for others, it might need adjusting.
Please consider rereading this blog article several times and consider reaching out to me about how you can make the appropriate adjustments to your afternoon and evening schedule for more improved outcomes in your home.
Parent’s Book of the Month: The Awakened Family by Dr. Shefali Tsabary