How to Create an After School Routine that Works for Your Child

Use these tips to create an after school routine that works for both you and your child!


It’s a new school year, which means it’s time to figure out your new after school routine!

One often-overlooked time of day is the transition from school to home.

Some children fly out the classroom door with smiles and cheers of “freedom!” Other children walk in the door of their home and explode like a volcano.

And then there’s you.

You may be coming home from a crazy day at work. Or maybe picking up your child from school is just the beginning of a stressful afternoon of carpools and soccer practices…followed by a night of nagging about homework.

Use this quick guide for some tips to make the after school routine smooth and positive!

Things to remember

  1. Smile
  2. Make Eye Contact
  3. Lead with something other than a question about homework
  4. Focus on the effort, improvement or accomplishment rather than the grade received
  5. Ask open-ended questions (here are some ideas to get you started)

If your child is…

  • Extroverted: Your child may be energized by being with her classmates all day. Let her do the talking, your job is to listen.  Let her know that you are listening by making eye contact, inserting “Oh!” or “Tell me more!” while she is talking.
  • Introverted: Your child may be exhausted by being with his classmates all day. Let him be quiet.   Keep questions to a minimum, giving him time to talk when he is ready.   Allow time for him to be alone, rest or do an individual activity.
  • Techie: Your child may run to the iPad immediately after coming in the door. Set limits around technology in advance.   Decide if you would like her to empty her backpack, finish homework or go outside prior to using technology; then set a time limit.
  • Active: After being cooped up in a classroom all day, your child wants to run! Allow time for your child to exercise before completing homework. Engage in an activity together – he may be more willing to talk about his day while playing H-O-R-S-E.
  • Explosive: Your child has worked hard to remain calm and follow the classroom rules during the day. Take a   few deep breaths before he comes home. Offer a snack right away. Stay positive, and limit the number of directions and corrections you give.

If you are…

  • Extroverted: You want to know everything about their day! Take into consideration that your child may need space. Ask a few questions, but be ok with delaying the conversation until your child has a chance to relax, exercise or have a snack.
  • Introverted: You need some time to yourself after work. Keep in mind your child may need to connect with you right away after school. Wait a few minutes before coming in the door or set a timer for a 10-minute check-in with your child.
  • Techie: You want to connect with your kids, but your work or social media has your attention. Turn off the computer, put your phone on “do not disturb.” If needed, set a timer to help you focus on your kids rather than checking email or returning calls.
  • Busy: You don’t know how to fit it all in. Create a transition that works with what you are already doing. Have “Special Snack Tuesdays” on the way to piano. Skip to the car after daycare. Talk in the car for 5 minutes before soccer. Or, check-in at bedtime.

For many children, heading home from school is a very important part of their day.

Start the year right by creating a routine that is tailored for your unique child.


Nicole Schwarz (couch 3)

Welcome! I'm Nicole Schwarz.

I'm a Parent Coach, Licensed Therapist and Author of It Starts with You. I help stressed, overwhelmed, confused parents find calm, confidence and connection with their kids. No one is expecting perfection here. But, if you’re willing to examine your parenting, find encouragement, or try something new, this is the place for you.

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