Getting Back On Track

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New Year, new beginnings. Very excited for 2023!

Looking back at 2022, I feel like I could have handled some parenting situations better…sigh. But 2023, new beginnings! Setting mini-goals for this year, one of which is to improve our out-of-school-and-driving-home-without-losing-it scenario.

The kids have been focusing all day at school, and have been holding it in on the bus, but once they get off the bus… a combination of excess energy, instant need for food and a sudden urge to tackle a sibling seems inevitable…

Here are some after school things that help keep the peace in our family (most of the time anyway). We’ve been doing most of the following routinely, except for #1 on the list. So, I will make a serious effort to do this on a regular basis this year.

Ready-made snacks

This is time consuming, but well worth the effort. Prepare healthy snacks the night before, so that they are handy to grab and eat as soon as the kids get home. Usually the kids are famished; either they ate their lunch too early, or did not eat their lunch at all. Either way, having ready-made snacks is a quick way to fuel up, rather than reaching for the junk food right away. This is also helpful when there are after school activities to get to before supper time. Feeling ambitious? Prepare snacks for the whole week!

Letting it go

In our case, it’s ok to let loose for a while, but not too long, or else we hit the point of no return! Let them release their energy, but keep in mind that homework still needs to get done. It helps to set a specific time. I find that having after school activities in the evening help a lot too. For example, if we have hockey at 5:30pm, then homework needs to get done by 4:45pm. This is great for developing time management skills, even for the younger ones.

Homework time

I am not an expert, but I know that every family situation is different and every child is different, with different learning styles. In our case, we figured out by grade 2 that the bulk of the homework needs to get done pretty much right away, within an hour after arriving home, or else it just doesn’t get done. But we only focus on the writing homework (words, math, projects, etc.). For us, it’s pointless to wait until after supper…the concentration and focus are gone. However, every child is different, so whatever works in your household stick to that, and feel free to share your parenting tricks for tackling this issue in the comment section below.

Free time

Definitely needed! Whether it’s playing inside, outside, watching TV, computers, video games, etc., free play is always a great idea.

Minecraft town creation

The reading dilemma

Our biggest struggle has always been reading. So, our motto is: “It doesn’t matter when it gets done, as long as it gets done”! For the most part, reading gets done at night, right before bedtime. And it doesn’t matter what type of book is being read either… storybook, video game instructional book, even cookbook, why not?

Block City: How to Build Incredible Worlds in Minecraft, by Kirsten Kearny & Yazur Strovoz

Books like ‘Choose Your Own Adventure®‘ can be really helpful for children with shorter attention span, who need constant stimulation to stay engaged while reading. At the end of each page the reader has to make a choice which will determine his or her fate as well as the ending of the book.

Excerpt from Choose Your Own Adventure: Journey Under the Sea, by R. A. Montgomery

These books are available in different reading levels and truly maintain the readers interest.

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