Our kids' morning routine checklist post is one of our most popular. Thousands of you visit it every week. So, because it's been requested, here is an evening routine checklist for you all.
Nights during the week can be just as hard as mornings, if not even harder. So often we are juggling school pick up, after school care, the work commute, dinner, homework, bath and bed. Not only do we have all of this but it can quite frequently be the case that there's only one parent home, trying to get everything done in a limited amount of time. So, to get you on track with the evening routine here are my tips.
Kids' evening routine checklist
Kids' evening routine checklist step 1 - plan your afternoon and evening
If you don't have a plan going into the afternoon and evening then everything can come completely undone. Know how much time you will have between pick up and bedtime and carve out a basic timeline so that you know what needs to happen next. If you have to pick up the kids, cook dinner, do homework and everything else then know what is going to need to be done, and when.
Kids' evening routine checklist step 2 - Give the kids set expectations
Kids are never going to want to come home and do their homework straight away. They need time to play and relax from school, just like we do after work. So allocate a set amount of free time when they get home from school. They can play, read, watch TV, whatever they want to do. This is really important. Meanwhile, you can use that time to food prep, bath little ones or do anything else that will help get the evening flowing more smoothly.
Kids' evening routine checklist step 3 - use your time wisely
So many families are shuttling their kids between school and activities and this can make it hard to get homework done. Use the time you have before activities or in the car to get whatever homework you can finished so you don't need to do it all when you get home. Also, if you are taking siblings with you to activities, use that time to get their homework done.
Kids' evening routine checklist step 4 - have a checklist the kids can follow
Just like in the mornings, there's nothing worse than having to constantly nag your kid to move to the next thing. Having a checklist (like the printable one below) encourages kids to be responsible for their own tasks. If you have kids that can be a bit vague and distracted, set timers on your phone for them. Give them a 5 minute warning to avoid meltdowns. They need to prepare to move themselves to the next task. For this checklist I've given you a box to write what time you want everything done by. This will help keep you on track.
Kids' evening routine checklist step 5 - consistency is key
An evening routine is a lifesaver. No one wants their kids still running around the house at 9pm. We need our kid free time! So be consistent with the dinner/bath/bed part of the routine. If you move from one to the other without letting them (or you) get distracted then the whole thing should move pretty smoothly. It's bedtime at 7:30pm here (sometimes 7pm if I'm really doing well!)
I hope these tips help as much as the morning checklist has helped you all. Please let me know below if you have any tried and tested tips that you want to pass on.