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The SmartSitting Guide to After-School Routines for Kids!

Happy Fall, everyone! We can’t believe how fast the summer flew by. And with a new season comes new transitions big and small for your whole family. Whether your kids are starting school for the first time, switching schools, graduating to middle school, or just going through all the changes and excitement of a new grade, there’s a lot to get used to! To help out with the transition, we’ve compiled a list for parents and SmartSitters of 8 tips for getting into the new routine. Let us know what’s worked with your family as well, and don’t forget to book a babysitter to help every step of the way!


  1. Let kids create their own schedules and routines (with guidance, of course)! When kids have ownership of their responsibilities, it helps everything go more smoothly! It takes time to adjust to a new routine, so don’t worry if you’re still figuring it out. You can try giving them different options (does homework get done immediately after school, or before dinner? What time will be designated for practicing instruments every day or every week? When do baths or showers happen? ) and write out a schedule for each week. Even if you end up straying from it when things get crazy, it always helps to have a plan!




  1. Come up with fun rewards systems. This can be a great way to give your SmartKids some extra incentive to get everything done and stay motivated! Rewards systems can come in a variety of forms. Whether it’s an extra hour of playtime, a special trip to their favorite playground or museum, letting them choose the next movie night, or their favorite meal or treat, the possibilities are endless, and easily tailored to your children’s specific needs and schedules!




  1. Schedule time for play, fun activities, and relaxing! Unstructured playtime (or time for friends and hobbies, for older kids) is so important, and often it gets pushed to the bottom of the “to-do” list when the school schedules start to get jam packed. It may help to pencil it into the calendar, or just work it into the daily routine – maybe right after school, before bed, or in between responsibilities!



  1. Make use of commute time! If transportation to after-school activities is a big part of your routine (as it is for many of our city kids!), don’t let that commute time go to waste! Although some homework can’t be done on the subway, kids can get some reading time in, or you can quiz them or help them talk through a long-term project. You can also use this time to find out how they’re feeling about school. Whether it’s teachers, friends, or class work, it’s always great to dedicate some time to just chatting and hearing what’s going on their minds!




  1. Plan weekday meals and school lunches. There are all different ways to handle meal prep and planning. Whether you prefer to plan each day in advance or take it day by day, it always helps to have a routine! Involving the kids can be helpful, whether you give them choices for your weekly grocery shop, have them categorize their lunch boxes, or find some fun new recipes they’d like to try. Check out this food website specifically for kids!




  1. Try out different organization systems. Every child’s mind works differently, and you may need to try out a few different systems before you land on the right one. Together, you can come up with some great ways to keep homework organized, from nightly assignments to long-term projects. There are countless ways to create fun calendars, checklists, labeled folders, and desk organizers, and the more creative the kids can be, the better!



  1. Create special bedtime rituals. Having special bedtime traditions is a great way to wind down from day and ease the transition from the chaotic after-school schedule to a restful sleep. Plus, it give the kids an extra boost in getting ready for bed faster! You might ask them their “highs and lows” of the day (or just the highs!), keep a fun nightly journal, pick out some chapter books that are just for reading aloud at bedtime, or any other ritual you come up with together!



  1. Don’t worry if every single thing doesn’t get done every day. Our New York lives are packed with activities, responsibilities, and daily tasks.  One of the best things about living here is the seemingly unlimited array of places to go and people to see. But we can’t possibly fit it all in every single day! Don’t sweat it if a few things fall by the wayside sometimes. As long as the top priorities are getting done, everything else will fall into place!

Our SmartSitters are all college educated, so they have plenty of experience with scheduling, prioritizing, and multitasking, both for themselves and for kids! We have so many great babysitters and nannies that we can’t wait to personally match with your family. Get started today with our Family Application!



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