Home Routines: Structures to Support Organization

Written by: Shelley Kress

Award-Winning Las Vegas Teacher

After-school routines are incredibly helpful and beneficial! The start of the school year is a great opportunity to freshen up home routines that will support the structures at school, and help with organization at home.

Here are a few helpful hints!

Check Backpacks

In the primary grades, families should be checking backpacks each day. Looking through folders for important information, lessons to complete, or school communication. For the intermediate and older students, build a system at home for paperwork. For example, a filing system, specific basket, or area at home.

Return Paperwork as Soon as Possible

When schools or teachers request paperwork to be completed or signed, take care of it and return it as soon as possible. Not only does it help the school and teacher, it removes the possibility of the paperwork being misplaced or lost!

Check Agendas, Teacher Newsletters, or School Calendars, and Use These to Add Important Dates to the Family Calendar

These dates might correlate with when report cards are sent home, a school event or field trip, or when a project is due! Combining dates into one calendar is valuable for helping to prepare your students for responsibilities and events.

Prep Snacks and Lunches for the Next Day

Preparing these ahead of time reduces the stress, chaos, and rush of the morning. Encourage older students to think ahead and pack what they can in the afternoon – and offer reminders in the morning to complete the task. Primary-aged students can also be helpful by emptying their lunch boxes from the previous lunch, choosing their snacks, and putting them into the lunch box.

Discuss Potential Homework, and Check for Understanding of Their Lessons That Day

Most schools and teachers will send home a weekly or monthly newsletter detailing what the students will be working on, units of study, or focus skills. Follow up with your students on their progress and understanding. This is also a great opportunity to reach out to teachers for clarification, or with concerns if any arise.

Set Out Clothing for the Next Day, and Pack Anything Needed for After-School Activities or School Activities

This will also help with the rush and busy time in the next morning. Having the majority of the task completed the afternoon before, with a quick reminder in the morning, makes the task much easier. Plus, this provides students an opportunity to take ownership of the task, practice thinking ahead, and making decisions for themselves!

Discuss Responsibilities or Obligations for the Next Day

This may involve looking at the family calendar or having a quick discussion to make students aware of activities, responsibilities, or appointments. This provides the student an opportunity to plan ahead for themselves and prepare their mindset for their potential engagements.

Ask Questions About Your Student’s Day

These can be specific to activities or lessons. These questions can also be social or academic based. Look for opportunities to encourage opinions or personal perspectives. Families can also choose specific questions to ask daily that might focus on something your family values.

Examples: What was the best part of the day? What was the funniest part of the day? When did you show kindness? When did someone show you kindness? Did you help someone, or did someone help you today?

Encourage Active Play – Inside or Outside – Once the Routine Has Been Completed!

Limiting screen time and allowing children to have the freedom to have creative and active play helps their physical and mental health.

Afternoons and evenings can get busy very quickly and fill up fast – but sticking to a simple routine and maintaining this routine can be incredibly helpful.

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