How to implement an effective after school routine for kids

If you are the parent of a young, or not-so-young child, you have probably already experienced the stress of those kids coming home from school, and the associated stress in trying to get them to do their homework and chores, never mind not snacking before dinner and going to bed on time.

We know, we have been there too, and the best tip we can give other parents is to implement an effective after school routine as soon as possible. Keep reading to find out how.

Like it or not, most of us are creatures of habit, and we quickly adjust to having set routines in our life that we don’t have to think too hard about doing each day.

Children are no different and they look to their parents for guidance and direction throughout their formative years. If you fail to give that guidance then trouble and stress are sure to be a part of your family life.

So start thinking about what you can set in place to teach your children what is expected of them each day and how they can better learn to be a cooperative part of that family life.

If you are starting this when your children are small, we found it really helpful to have things written down for everyone to see and refer to. Put their name on the fridge and next to their name list what is expected of them when they come home.

We have even seen parents draw clocks next to names with times coloured in so their kids know what is expected between hometime and dinner, after dinner, and evening time.

Others write a list on coloured ‘sticky notes’ and each child has a colour unique to them so there is no mistaking what they need to do.

This list can include very practical things like:


  • put away coat and backpack, and change into play clothes
  • choose a healthy snack (from options provided)
  • complete homework at the dining room table (and get any forms signed by parents while all the school stuff is on the table and before it is forgotten about)
  • play time outside if possible until dinner.


  • Set table/clear table/help prepare meal/assist with dishes

After Dinner:

  • 30 minutes on the Playstation/Xbox/TV
  • put our garbage/feed the dog
  • bath and put dirty clothes in basket
  • prepare clothes/books/sportswear for school tomorrow
  • reading with mum/dad or other quiet-time activity
  • bedtime at…

You might have noticed that each ‘reward’ is only given after the chore is performed. If they fail to put away their school stuff then no snack is given.

If they don’t do their homework as requested they miss out on playtime. And if they complain about doing the dishes, the Playstation stays in the cupboard. By doing this they soon respect each request and appreciate the reward afterwards.

The routine also means that you deal with those hunger pangs pretty much after they come in the front door, complete their homework before getting distracted in games or TV, and they have a wind-down time before going to bed.

Implementing a new routine is going to take time, and if you and your kids have never tried it, may even cause a few tears and tantrums. But stick with it and as you work through it you will develop a very personalised after school routine that is just perfect for your family.

Try it and let us know how it goes.

Living each adventure, 
Christine and Trevor

Empowering people to live a healthy, active, authentic and fulfilling lifestyle.
Adelaide, South Australia.

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DISCLAIMER: This article is written for informational purposes only and is based on Christine and Trevor’s own life experiences. No food featured on this site should ever be consumed or handled if known or suspected allergies exist. Nothing featured here should be taken as medical, professional or legal advice. It is always recommended that you consult the appropriate professional before changing any routine or adopting any new procedure.

How to implement an effective after school routine for kids

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