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The hours between your children getting home from school and when they go to bed can be a hectic time. With extracurricular activities, homework, chores, dinner and bedtime, 4pm to 8pm can test any parent’s nerves.

If your afternoon and evening hours are typically full of chaos, try these 5 tips that could help you and your children have happier afternoons.

1Routine Clock

Children thrive when they know what the expectations are. A clever way to illustrate what you need them to do in the afternoon is to make an after school routine clock. Showing your family there are designated times for play and homework may help keep everyone on track. When the kids complain about doing homework, you can show them that playtime is just around the corner.

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2Rotation System for Multiple Children

This concept is an expanded version of the routine clock mentioned above. If you have multiple school-aged children, it can be difficult to find a way to spend one-on-one time with each child, helping with homework and other activities. A rotation system not only helps you (the parent) spend time with each child but it also lets your children know that their turn with mom is coming up!

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3A Place for Everything

Organization is key in decreasing stress and one of the best things you can do is to create a space for all of your children’s school items (backpack, lunch boxes, coats, shoes, etc…). If you have a mudroom, laundry room or entryway, this is a great place to add some organizational elements, like shelving and hooks to hold all of these items. Teach your children to put their backpack, coat, shoes and lunchboxes in their designated spot as soon as they get home from school. This will also help with the morning rush as you will know where everyone’s school supplies are and they will be easy to grab as you run out the door!

4Ready-to-Go Snacks

It seems the first thing many kids want after school is a snack! Make snacks easily accessible. Designate an area where you will keep after school snacks so your children know they are free to grab something from this area. Whether its a bowl on the kitchen table or a box in the pantry; simply fill it with healthy snack options that your children can easily grab!

You can also translate this idea to the car and keep a small box of snacks in the car for those long rides or if you go to extracurricular activities after school.

5Limit Screen Time

Research has shown that too much screen time, especially in the afternoon and evening hours, can affect sleep and school performance. Very Well Family shares how important it can be to set time limits for screen time.

“Whether it’s one hour of TV after homework is done or no more than 30 minutes total of texting with friends, establish clear rules and limits for screen time. And as tempting as it may be to give in when kids beg, whine, and bargain for more time to chat with friends, watch a favorite show, or play one more video game, be as firm and consistent as possible.”

While the afternoon and early evening hours can be some of the busiest times of the day for many families, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Consider these tips to add a little organization and sanity to your afternoons!

This article is brought to you by IvyBrook Academy in Franklin, offering a hands-on, discovery-based approach to learning. IvyBrook Academy, located at 1268 Lewisburg Pike, is a half-day preschool for children ages 2-5.

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