If evenings after school in your house consist of hectically trying to get dinner on the table, homework done and catch up on household chores, all before franticly battling to get the kids in bed, then you may want to read our tips below. In this article we will go through some easy and realistic ways to not only make school evenings less stressful, but actually a little bit fun!
Establish a realistic routine
Routine is a key part of an enjoyable weekday evening, however what’s even more important is ensuring that the routine is attainable. If you set yourself unrealistic goals and expectations of how you would like you evening to pan out, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Create two separate lists containing the tasks you need to complete and the tasks you want to complete each evening. The ‘must complete’ list should include things like making dinner, laundry and bathing the kids. The less necessary activities on the other list could include things like playing a family game, watching a movie or completing a side project you’ve been meaning to work on. Once you’ve written both lists you can begin to work each task into a schedule, starting with the most necessary tasks first. Make sure you stay realistic about how long each task will take and write the times on your schedule. For example, if you put the kids to bed at 7pm each evening, but expect them to get out of bed two or three times after that, don’t schedule in your next task for 7:05. Instead, give yourself the time you need to complete all tasks properly.
Once you’ve included all the necessary tasks on your schedule, you can then work in time for more leisurely activities. Try not to cram in too many tasks or activities in one evening, if it can wait a day or two, don’t pressure yourself to get it done A.S.A.P. Make it a goal to work in at least one leisurely activity each night, and don’t fill up your evenings with stressful chores that aren’t priorities.
Stop Making two Separate Dinners
Children are naturally picky eaters, and because of this, many parents often find themselves feeling compelled to make two separate meals each evening: one for the kids in the house and one for the adults. And while this might seem like an easy way out of dealing with fussy children, it is actually quite unnecessary as well as time consuming. Making one meal and enjoying it as a family will not only to help you save time, but also money. It’s also a great way to introduce your children to new foods, help them to learn table manners and bond as a family.
Get the kids involved
As the old saying goes ‘many hands makes the load lighter’ – getting the kids to help out in the house as much as they can will help you to feel less overwhelmed when it comes to getting those chores done. It is perfectly ok to give your kids small tasks to complete each evening. These can be as simple as getting them to put their shoes away, hang up their school bag or toss their school uniform in the laundry basket instead of on the floor. Any parent will know getting kids to do chores is never easy, but it can be made easier by offering kids lots of praise for helping out, keeping rules consistent and giving small rewards when they do things without being asked.
Allow the Kids to make Decisions
It is necessary that as parents, we establish rules and are the ones to tell our children what to do. However, being told what to do all day, every day can sometimes take its toll, and cause children to become frustrated. This frustration, in turn can cause tantrums and unwanted behaviour. One great way to resolve this is to allow kids the opportunity to make their own decisions, especially when it comes to their bedtime routine. These decisions don’t have to be anything major, simply allowing them to choose what PJs they want to wear or which book they would like to read can be enough to ease that frustration and help them feel calmer at bedtime.