The After School Hustle | Tuesdays with Jacob

The After School Hustle

May 1, 2018

This post is sponsored by Pepperidge Farm but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

This is it folks. The final countdown. May, June, SUMMER. We are so close!! We can do this! Somewhere between the projects, end of the year parties, sports championships ... everything starts to feel a little more stressful than usual. Not that the late afternoon and evening hours are ever NOT stressful. They don't call them the witching hours for nothing! At our house those few precious hours between the last school bell and the last bedtime story is nothing short of NUTS. Sound familiar? We've gotten into a sort-of routine, and I thought I'd share what it looks like for us, in case any of these tips might help you too!

1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. The minute my kid is in bed I'm already getting set up for the next day. Packing lunches, snacks, signing forms, setting out clothes, and just making sure everything in general is ready for the next day. This helps our morning go smoothly, and when our morning goes smoothly the rest of our day tends to follow suit. I also use this time to prepare anything that can be done ahead of time for the following days dinner. This leaves less prep work to do during those stressful evening hours.
2. Keep Snacks on Hand. When I'm packing the night before I'm sure to also pack some snacks. If little man gets hungry, he gets CRANKY. Nothing will derail your night faster than a cranky kid. I like to pre-portion snacks into snack cups or ziploc bags and keep them stashed in my purse. That way they're available on the drive home from school, while waiting at sports practices, etc. Goldfish are one of our favorite snacks because they're made with real cheese, have no artificial flavors or preservatives, and I know they won't spoil dinner. I like snack cups for the car because my son is pretty prone to spilling things out of ziploc bags. Having to clean up a mess in the car just adds one more thing to your already full to-do list.

3. Multi-Task. This helps get more things done faster. Snacks can 100% be done while kids complete homework. Flash cards can get practiced while they dress for activities. I like to get my kiddo settled with a snack and his homework and then get started on dinner while he's occupied. If he finishes, I send him to start getting dressed for his evening activities or put him to work helping with dinner. Many hands make light work!
4. Everything in it's place. One of the best pieces of advice I've ever been given is to have a designated spot for homework with all the tools they need so your little darling isn't wasting time wandering around the house looking for scissors, glue, a sharpened pencil, or anything else they may need. It's also helpful to stash anything they need for clubs, sports, or activities in one spot so that when you send them to get dressed they know just where to go to find everything. This will help you avoid those "MOM! I can't find __________________!!!!" while you're in the middle of helping another kid with homework, feeding the dogs, washing vegetables, or whatever else you need to get done.
5. Keep a routine. When you have a good routine in place your kids can anticipate how the evening is going to go and can be more independent. For us, that looks like a healthy snack (like fruit, yogurt, or Goldfish crackers) and homework while mommy makes dinner, followed by dressing for evening activities, dinner, then off to swimming or church. Once we get home it's bath, story, and then into bed. Since he knows what comes next Jacob is more helpful and able to complete some tasks on his own to help hurry us along. Once he's in bed I get started preparing things for the next day. (see #1)

For more on-the-go survival tips check out the Goldfish Pinterest page HERE. There are SO many helpful ideas there! And to learn more about Goldfish Colors, check out the Goldfish Colors page HERE. Goldfish Colors are also made from real cheese, have no artificial flavors, and the colors are sourced from plants! Happy moms + happy kids = win/win for everyone!

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