What is your after school routine?

I don’t know about yours, but my kid comes home from school starving! Before he can shut the door he’s probably asked Where’s my snack?… What can I eat? At least three times! He then races around the house like crazy looking for food. While this is going on, he throws his backpack, shoes and coat all over the kitchen. I’ve been trying to get him to calm down, by putting snacks on the table ready for him to eat. But he scarfs that down in 2 seconds and the same wild scavenger hunt for food begins again.

Yesterday, I asked him to take some deep breaths and slow down because we needed to figure out a new after school routine, this one is not working! I asked him to help me come up with 3 things he needs to do when he comes in the door… BEFORE he asks for a snack. This is what he came up with:

  1. Hang up backpack and coat.
  2. Wash his hands.
  3. Get out his school work to show me.

I then created this chart just as a reminder. I’ll put it above his backpack hook by the back door. I’ve made this a printable chart if you’d like to download it.

I hope having a simple routine will help him calm down and give me time to pour him a glass of milk!

What is your after school routine? Are your boys as hungry as mine? Maybe it’s a boy thing? Please leave a comment letting me know what works for you.


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  2. We did something like that last year and it worked perfectly !
    I took some clipart images that I've plastified with magnets.
    Images were :
    – Take out your shoes and jacket and put it at the right place
    – Unpack your lunch boxe and bring it to mom
    – do your homeworks
    – put your pijama
    – eat
    – brush your teeths
    – story reading
    – bed time
    The images are on a radiator. Plenty of game with that. Put them in the correct order, find the one missing….
    They learned quickly with it. 8 images is a lot but I've added them progressively.

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  4. Too cute! I may try this out with my oldest daughter (who is in kinder). Our routine now is me screaming directions as I get out of the car for the girls as they race into the living room to watch TV or play with toys (yeah our neighbors think we’re crazy but they are fast little things!). My teenage boy wouldn’t go for this. If he doesn’t get food 30 seconds after walking through the door everyone is in danger of being eaten.

  5. Hang up backpack and coat;
    Bath and pajamas (this eliminates the crabbing about doing it before bed!!);

  6. Is this chart still available? When I click on it, it takes me to a PDF file, but it’s blank…? Would love to be able to print it! :o)

  7. Wonderful idea. My daughter just started 1st grade and I am overwhelmed with how much paperwork she brings home. She always tries handing it to me on the drive home but these cards will help her learn a better routine. Thanks!

  8. THANKS!! This is such a great way (that won’t look ugly hanging on my fridge) to remind my son what needs to be done without me having to repeat myself over and over and over again….”what did you say to do Mom?”

  9. Thank You sooooo much for these morning routine and after school poster. My kids are visual learners and these fantastic charts are graciously helpful in getting them on task!! Thanks Again.

  10. I love this. It’s perfect for my little guy and our after school dilemma. I hope you don’t mind that I did a post about this and linked back to your post. Thanks for the chart. I love your work.

  11. My son is the same way. He throws his school stuff on the floor as soon as he walks in and is scrambling around looking for a snack. I think our household could use an evening routine chart – great idea, thanks for sharing.

  12. Forget the kids, this is me! I teach middle school, and the second those kids are out my door, I’m scrambling in my little office to find a snack. Maybe routine will help me focus!

  13. Love these tags! So cute! After school my daughter plunks herself on the couch and stretches out for five minutes just to decompress. That gives me time to get her a snack. While she is munching on her snack, she shows me any work she got done at the after school program and then we tackle anything she needs to finish.

  14. Routine for my 4 yr old in VPK (Voluntary Pre-kindergarten):

    My son walks in the door; takes out and finishes his homework. Then I prepare a snack and he’s allowed to watch a bit of television.

    If I let him do other things before homework time, I can forget about him actually getting it done in a timely manner.

  15. My son comes home, puts his backpack up, has a snack, shows me his work, works on homework (in Kindergarten!!!). I really like adding in the handwashing…I always make him do it before he comes in the house. I also sprayed his clothes down with Lysol for 2 weeks every day and made him run right up into the shower and change when there were 4 kids in his class with Swine Flu! (We have a little one in the house).

  16. Great ideas, Amy! And so attractive!

    Trying to put the finishing touches tonight on a presentation (“Parenting when both parent and child have ADHD”), I was looking for examples of ways to “externalize” domestic chores and routines.

    Your signs are great for any family, but when ADHD is involved, it’s especially important to build concrete cues into the environment .

    I’ll be sharing your site with attendees of the ADD Resources conference in Seattle this weekend.

    Gina Pera, author
    Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?
    Stopping the Roller Coaster When Someone You Love Has Attention Deficit Disorder

  17. Hey! I’m brand-new to blogging and brand-new to SITSstas–they are leading me to all kinds of great bloggers including you! Believe it or not, I’m downloading this for my 15 year-old ….I think he’s forgotten the after school routine! He’ll get a kick out of it too. Thank-you!!

    Oh, and if you think your boy(s) eat alot now ….just wait! You’ll make a beautiful, big, full-course dinner and as soon as they wolf it down, they ask to be excused to go make a peanut butter sandwich!!!
    .-= Laurie´s last blog ..One Week-Old Birthday =-.

  18. This is great. My two girls (kindergarten) told me I should have a sign on the dinner table which shows them how to scrape their leftovers into the compost pail and then put their dishes in the sink. Just like the sign they have at school to show how to put away their trays after lunch.

  19. Love it! Printed it! Will use it! I would LOVE to see a ‘Before School Routine’. I know everyones routine is different, but the basics would be great!

  20. I am trying to get organized for the new school year now with a first grader and a preschooler. I LOVE this printout! Would you by chance be thinking about creating a morning/get ready for school page? I am having the hardest time finding something for my son. And I love the day-of-the-week clothing hangers too. Thank you for being willing to share!

  21. This is such a great idea, I only wish you had it in a pastel also (for girls that are just as starving!) like you do the day of the week organizers. And I think the starving thing is USUALLY a boy thing.

  22. I never “got” the starving thing until I went to lunch with my daughter! I am NOT impressed with the lunches and the amount, no wonder she’s hungery. Nice idea with the chart. Although my daughter is older, I can totally see this one for my niece & nephew 🙂

  23. Mine are the same way, my 7 year old is really bad though. I couldn’t even get her to show what is in her bag before eating. I can barely get her out of her shoes before she is already about to have a meltdown. My 11 year isn’t as bad, she can usually go at least half hour to an hour & has almost always been like that.

    My mom said my brother & I were the same way.

    Ginny’s last blog post..Protect-A-Bed Discount Good for March 2009

  24. Oh, I hear ya. My kids can’t get to the pantry fast enough when they come home. The routine is similar to yours–take off coats and shoes, wash hands, and then my daughter eats her snack while I go through her backpack and ask her about the things she brought home. What a great chart you came up with!

    Next year my son will be in high school (still can’t believe that!) and we learned that his lunch time will be 9:50. In the morning. The school’s so overcrowded that they start early to get all the kids through the cafeteria by the end of the day. Anyway, I have a feeling he’ll be extra hungry by the time he gets home from school each day next year!

    Julia @ Hooked on Houses’s last blog post..Hooked on Cool Wall Decals

  25. What a great chart! My kindergartner tends to toss her stuff all over the floor in the living room, and then run off to play and eat and all that. She, too, is starving after school.

    Thanks for sharing… we definitely need to establish an after school routine around here (one that doesn’t include tossing things on my living room floor!)

    Amy @ Finer Things’s last blog post..Finer Things Friday: Tooth Fairies and Pixie Dust

  26. oh my goodness, this is the story of my life! backpacks on the kitchen floor and scampering around like crazy people — that’s exactly what happens in my house every afternoon!

  27. What a beautiful chart!!! Mine never look that good 😉

    I find that children, well all people actually need inhaling and exhaling times, that they need to be able to focus their energy then rest then enjoy another activity. It allows us to de-stress instead of running from one activity to the next without stopping. This is something I definitely need to work on with mine.

    Leslie’s last blog post..caffeinated randomness friday the 13th edition

  28. LOVE THAT CHART!! I have to admit our routine is similar, as my daughter is 6. She’s through the door, shoes off and put in the basket, coat on it’s hanger and then she’s onto the food, and then some more food. I swear they don’t feed them all day!! Then it’s onto homework once she’s decompressed and told me about her day. it’s my favourite part of the day 🙂

    Liz@VioletPosy’s last blog post..Violets

  29. Oh man, I feel better now! I thought there might be something wrong with my child! LOL!! Sounds like this is a normal thing at most of your homes:-)

  30. When the three older kids get off the bus, chaos ensues! There is no other word for it…complete and utter CHAOS. They do know that they have to put their backpacks and shoes away in their cubbies before any bite of food can enter their mouths though. I’m so mean! 😉

    theArthurClan’s last blog post..Giddy!

  31. My son is also the same way! He needs to get some wiggles out before he starts his homework. But I can’t let him play too long or I lose him!
    Sheridan gets to work on her homework right away and sometimes finishes the whole week!

    Great chart!

    Donna’s last blog post..I’m Featured!

  32. Sounds just like my house – it’s like a tornado enters the house at 3:15 every afternoon. I have my kids do the same exact things you have before snacks. Doesn’t always happen so maybe this chart will help remind them. Thanks for sharing.

    jen@ourdailybigtop’s last blog post..The Mom Interview

  33. My kids are hungry too…they eat lunch about 11am and don’t get home until 4:20. Their first question is always ‘what’s for supper?’. They are supposed to do all the things you have on your chart before getting a snack, but I still have to remind them every day, and they are 6, 8 and 11!

    Holly’s last blog post..Springtime Palette

  34. I’m so glad to know that my kids are not the only “starving” kids in the afternoon after school! You’d think the school didn’t feed them lunch!! I have the same problem with coats and backpacks getting dropped right at the back door OR if they manage to make it to the bedroom… right in the bedroom door! I think I’ll give the checklist a try. Great idea!!!

    Christine’s last blog post..Hooked on Fridays

  35. that is a great idea! my daughter is the SAME way- I actually live right by the school-so we walk-I bring her a healthy protein-chocolate smoothie every day without fail- she drinks it while we walk home so when she walks in the door shes not a complete emotional mess. I forgot the smoothie one day and it was COMPLETE meltdown city! I LOVE the chart idea- thanks!

    Amanda Eck’s last blog post..Spring-a-ling

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