For many people, September is the back to school season, although in Japan the school year starts in April, we still get along (in Japanese standards) break through the summer.
By now, you should be settling into a routine, and creating a homework routine for them. if this is the first year of school or a change from kindy to school the routine might have changed somewhat and it takes a while usually to find the groove, but you will get there.
The first couple of weeks are always tough, depending on where you are, you might have half days to start with or no homework so it really does take a couple of weeks to actually get settled and everyone getting used to the new change of pace.
Here are a few tips to help you get into the groove…
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Homework Routine Tips
1. Do the worst first!
When the kids get home, have a snack or drink if they need one and then get all the school stuff dealt with.
Yes, they might be tired but leaving it until after dinner they will be doubly tired and doubly whiney. Plus, if they do if straight after school they are still in ‘school mode’ so it is easier for them to actually do it straight away.
This includes doing their homework routine, completing their homework if they have any, and preparing their things for the next day.
If you have taken the homeschool path, you can read about how to juggle homeschool and work here.
2. Help them to do it themselves, (Make your kids independent)
If they are big enough to go to school, they are big enough to pack their own bag. Sounds harsh?
No, you are actually helping them become more independent and taking responsibility for themselves. This doesn’t just go for school, kindergarten-aged kids can help pack their bags too, but will probably need some supervision.
To help with this, put up a check sheet so that they know what they need to take. Sit down and create this together, use pictures if you have kids that are not yet reading. Or use something like this magnetic chart and adapt it to your families needs.
Once they get into the habit of going through the list at the same time each day, the school day routine will stick, making everyone’s life easier.
What if they forget something?
Yes, it is tough if they forget something and get a scolding at school. But at the end of the day, that is also a lesson! Maybe next time they will be a bit more attentive when packing their bag.
Now, I am not saying just chuck them in at the deep end. The first couple of weeks they will, most likely, need some help and gentle reminders but if you keep doing it for them, they will never learn how to do it themselves.
3. Set Up For Success
Once everything settles down, you need to establish a homework routine. This will really help things go smoothly, consistency is the key.
Of course, everyone’s set-up is slightly different so find a routine that will work for your family also set some rules. For us, when my son was at elementary school it went something like this…
Homework Routine Example
- Ebi-kun gets home anywhere between 3.20pm and 4pm
- Has a drink
- Gets everything out of his bag – I wash his cutlery set if it is the end of the week his sports kit etc. go in the laundry
- Gets out and does homework
- Puts the file with the squillion bits of paper out for daddy to read through in daddy’s cubby
- Packs bag for the next day going through his checklist
Depending on the homework this all takes 20-30 minutes. When he has finished he can play.
There is no play or no TV until everything is packed.
No 10 minutes of TV first or similar, homework & bag first, no excuses.
I wanted this to be a habit that will help my son as he gets older. To deal with what needs to be dealt with first and then relax properly without the thought that you know you still have more work to do.
This is a lifeskill that he can take with him as he grows up.
Mornings are easy because really it is just a matter of getting dressed, having breakfast and brushing teeth, everything else is taken care of.
He had school dinners, so no need to pack a lunch. But if a packed lunch was needed, I would be inclined to prep it the night before. I like my slow, easy-going, stress-free start to the day.
The final part thing is to make sure that your home is set up so that it is easy for your kids to put their stuff away and find what they need for the next day.
Having specified areas for doing their homework routine and storing school-related items. Make it easy for them to do it and you will save yourself a lot of stress and heartache!
We dive much deeper into all this and spend time setting your home up for success with the kids in mind in The Wonder Mom Success Club, this is especially important if you are running a business or working as well as raising your family!