Calmer evenings with kids

If you struggle every night trying to negotiate homework and bed-time schedules with your children, a few simple steps can go a long way to more peaceful evenings, according to the website Empowering Parents.

First off, don’t postpone asking about their homework or projects till late in the evening. Get the lowdown on what is expected of them soon after school so that together you can plan how to tackle the load.

Set some rules: Make a to-do list that your children need to follow after they get home from school. You can include a timeframe as well. The list should include putting their uniforms, shoes, water bottles, lunch boxes and bags in the right place and making a list of the homework to be completed that evening. Set out consequences and tell your children beforehand that they will come to be punished if the checklist is not followed through.

Eliminate screen time: Zoning out in front of the TV straight after school can make your child more likely to delay chores and homework. Keep phones, tablets and the TV off limits for a few hours while they complete their to-do list to avoid distraction and increase their concentration. The sooner they complete the monotonous tasks of their evening, the better they will feel about them.

Don’t overload them: Include short breaks for snacks or a mental recharge if your child has a lot to do after school. Sometimes homework can get overwhelming, and breaking it up into smaller sections can make it seem less daunting. You could time these sections into different parts of the evening such as: when they just get home from school, after they go out to play, before dinner and after they have a bath. This sectioning can be done with their chores as well.

Keep a calendar: Do you need to sign permission slips for a field trip next month? Is there a parent-teacher meeting due soon that you need to take time off work for? Are their football fees due? Do you need to make a costume for your child’s role in a play? In order to avoid the last minute rush of things, keep a calendar for your kids to fill out so that you can check on what school tasks you need to be aware of and prepare for.

Organise for a better morning: The more you can organise before bed, the smoother your morning will turn out. So make sure backpacks are packed, water bottles filled, clothes are kept ready and everything else is in order. Making a list for your child to check on is a good idea to help them be responsible for themselves.

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