Keeping the hours after the school day organized can be challenging for any family. However, with extracurricular activities, homework, and other items on the schedule each week, having a plan can help everyone stay on track. If you’ve been feeling like your after school hours aren’t as structured or productive as you would like them to be, having a schedule is an excellent way to lay a foundation for a less-stressed afternoon as a family.

As you think about your goals for a new school year, calendar year, or any new beginning, it is never a bad idea to build out an after school schedule for your children. When families come together to organize their time after the finish of the school day, there are a few tips to consider.

Building a Schedule
Ready to build an after school schedule? You can ask for input from your children, make realistic goals you’ll all commit to, create a calendar that is easy to find, act as a role model, and pivot if it’s necessary to make changes.

Ask for Input
Come together as a family to build out an afterschool schedule together. Although you might have an idea or skeleton of a schedule already created, ask your children to identify what are “must-have” items for an afterschool schedule. This can help them maintain ownership and understand that they play an essential role in creating a schedule that runs smoothly.

Make Realistic Goals
An important part of any goal-setting exercise is to make sure your goals are attainable. For example, as you build an afterschool schedule with your family, you might start with a 50/50 ratio of structured and unstructured time. This can give you an opportunity to celebrate sticking with your schedule of set activities while providing flexibility at the same time.

Post in Public
The calendar you create for your family should be accessible for everyone. You might decide to use a digital calendar that is easy to pull up on a laptop computer and a smartphone. This way, every family member can access it from their personal device. A digital calendar is a great option if you might need to make a last-minute change to an appointment and want to make sure it pops up on everyone’s calendar at the same time.

Act as a Model
If you decide that something is important enough to add to your schedule, make sure your children see that you honor that time. To help them understand that certain events or tasks have to happen at certain times, show them that you rarely make exceptions and are ready to stick with the schedule, too.

Building a schedule together as a family can be an evolving process that is both proactive and reactive. You can create a schedule by sharing ideas and holding each other accountable while at the same time reacting to needs that may evolve over the course of the year. If you’re looking to build a schedule that is the right fit for your family, make sure your goals are attainable, and everyone is committed to trying their best!

Monica Burns, Ed.D. is a curriculum and educational technology consultant, and founder of ClassTechTips.com. She hosts the Easy EdTech Podcast and is author of Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom.

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