When you have an extra large family it is imperative that you formulate and stick to some type of a daily and weekly routine. If you do not do this you as the parent/caregiver I will be subjected to a mutiny see definition here yes you will find yourself in, “a situation in which a group of people (such as sailors or soldiers) refuse to obey orders and try to take control away from the person who commands them” and you will lose all control. <<insert kids in parenthesis after soldiers>>
Having lots of kids makes many people think that it must run smoothly – all that extra help! It must be so nice to have all those extra hands! Wait a second… hold on here – all that extra MESS! Parents of many kids know exactly what I am talking about. It accumulates ten fold. If you have two kids throwing shoes, backpacks and water bottles on the floor when they come in after school, that is 4 shoes, 2 water bottles and 2 backpacks. But if you have 8 kids doing the same thing – that’s 16 shoes, 8 backpacks and 8 water bottles. Forget about the room staying clean, add in the folders, homework, books and snacks… the room has just become a post-hurricane site.
A routine is the savior of a parent in the midst of this storm, After school Routine? Check .
Here is our simple yet helpful after school routine: feel free to copy and tweak to your personal needs.
Our family’s after school routine;
Put your snack packs/water bottles/lunch boxes etc in designated spot on counter
Get out homework
Hang up your backpack
Eat a snack while doing homework
My kids use the timer on our stove for their reading, it’s their responsibility to make sure that they bring me any reading logs etc that need to be signed. Everyone does homework in the same room, that way if a younger kid needs help, an older kid can take a minute to help them out. It is like having a homework club in my house everyday after school.
As far as advice on how to make this work. the best thoughts that I have are to make sure that you “remind” your children daily that they need to follow these things. If you write down what is expected you can refer your child back to the chart at any time, this is one of the most useful tools. Also hold a family meeting, or a family talk at dinnertime to explain the new routine to all of the children, allow them to ask questions, and tell you their concerns or comments. Once you implement any new routine you will be doing a LOT of reminding. The good news is that the more that you remind them, they will eventually remember. Kids do not remember these things overnight. Studies say it takes 28 days to form a habit, I think it takes a lot longer for kids to really get into the groove of any routine but they will get it. As parents we need to be consistent with our expectations when trying to set up a routine. If we falter they will see an opening, an out and by nature they will take advantage of this out.
Stay strong and don’t give up and you will see a change.