After School Routine for Working Parents: Free Planner to Organize your Evenings!

If you’re a working parent, you know just how tough it is to juggle a full-time job and ensure your kids have a healthy after school routine. It can be downright overwhelming! But don’t worry – we’ve got your back. We’ll explore some tips and tricks for setting up an evening and after school routine that works for both you and your kids. We’ve got a free printable planner to help you out. So if you want the inside scoop on making the most of the time between school and bedtime, read on!

After School Planner for a Smooth Evening Routine

As any working parent knows, striking the right balance between work and home life can be tricky. You need to make sure your kids spend enough time doing their homework and still have time to do fun activities at home or with friends. And then there are appointments and chores that need to get done during the week. It all adds up quickly!

But don’t sweat it! With a little bit of planning, you can create an after school routine that takes into account everyone’s needs while also providing plenty of opportunities for fun and relaxation. We’ll show you how to set up an effective routine that will give your family structure without feeling overwhelmed by all the tasks that need to get done before bedtime. Ready? Let’s explore!

Benefits Of Establishing An After School Routine

Let’s face it, juggling a job and caring for kids can be a real challenge. Establishing an after school routine is essential to maintaining order in the household. It helps children structure their day and keeps parents (mostly) sane!

Kids thrive on consistency. They’re creatures of habit, and having a regular routine helps them feel secure and safe. Having a consistent routine in place makes life easier for everyone involved.

Having an evening schedule also gives parents structure and direction when managing their child’s activities. Furthermore, having that routine documented so everyone can refer to can reduce power struggles between parents and children.  When kids are reluctant to transition tasks – say from screentime to homework –  parents can “blame the schedule” instead of shouldering the (perceived) blame themselves.

How To Create An Evening Routine

When it comes to creating an evening routine for working parents, the key is to find something that works for you and your family. There’s no one-size fits all solution here; what works for one family may not be suitable for another.  There may also be some trial and error until you find something comfortable that works.

The key is to set up a daily routine that will help you stay organized and give your family time to relax and recharge – without letting important tasks or appointments slip through the cracks.

Start by establishing a consistent bedtime for your children, as this will ensure that they are getting the necessary hours of restful sleep each night.  Once the bedtimes are set, you can work backward to create a timeline of everything else.

Account for items that are outside of your direct control like after school clubs, sports practices, etc. Once these items are on your schedule, create a to-do list of chores, homework, dinner prep, etc., that needs to be done before the end of the day. Make sure to plan out enough time for breaks and other fun activities so that your kids don’t feel overwhelmed or overworked.

Set limits on screen time and eliminate any bad habits that might be getting in the way of productivity. This could include turning off all electronic devices after a set time or setting up rules about how much TV or video games each family member can watch or play each night. 

It’s good to have some quiet time to wind down and prepare for bed.  This is a good time to turn off the screens and devices, make sure everything is ready for the following day, put on some pajamas, and relax until bedtime.

By creating an evening routine that works for your family, you’ll have more energy during the day and more quality time together in the evening. It may take some trial and error to get it right but it’s worth it in the long run! Transitioning into creating a calendar/schedule is essential for ensuring your family sticks to their established routine.

  • Start with bedtime and work backward
  • Add After school Activities, Team Practices, etc where you don’t control the time
  • Allocate time for homework
  • Plan for dinner and family time
  • Get set up for the next day
  • Even a few minutes to wind down can help
  • Establish a bedtime routing
  • Use a planner or calendar app to help keep organized.

Creating A Calendar/Schedule

Creating a calendar or schedule for your family is an important step toward making sure everyone is on the same page. It’s essential to be consistent and organized – that way, you can avoid any possible power struggles down the line (or at least some of them), as everyone should be following their schedule.

Creating an effective after-school routine can help families keep track of important deadlines, ensure that kids don’t miss crucial school activities or events and make sure everyone is getting enough rest.

One way to create an effective after-school routine is to start with scheduling any regular extracurricular activities first. For example, if your child has soccer practice every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evening, write that down in the calendar first. Then add in any special events like field trips or school plays. After that, you can fill in the remaining days with meals, studying, and other tasks or chores.

We use this simple evening schedule printable to help us stay organized.  We can time block off the weekly and daily tasks, slot in some time for homework and chores, plan for dinner, and try to make sure we have some quiet time before bed.  We laminate our and put it on the refrigerator so everyone knows what their schedule is and we can easily make changes (and save paper!) Check it out and hopefully it can help you organize your after school routine too.

After School Activities

We want our kids to have exposure to a variety of activities, be involved, and enrich their lives, right?  The reality is that each activity adds to the chaos we have to tame to get through the week.

These activities not only help foster interpersonal skills and team building strategies but also provide an excellent outlet for physical exercise and creative expression. 

Many parents opt to enroll their children in extracurricular activities such as sports teams or after school clubs.  Other activities outside of school like dance lessons, music lessons, or martial arts are also popular. 

You want your kids to have the best of everything (and be the best at everything!) Just make sure to set a schedule that’s maintainable – for both yourself and the kids.  Trying to do too much can burn out the kids – yourself as you’re trying to do everything in a few evening hours!

Having a set of activities with the same set schedule each week provides children with the comfort of knowing what to expect each day which is especially important when parents are balancing careers with parenting.

Designating Time For Homework

As fun as the afterschool activities may be, there’s homework to be done. Factoring in dedicated homework time can help make life a little easier!

Here are some tips for making sure the homework gets done:
– Designate a time and place for homework
– Create a routine that works best for your family, whether it’s right after school or after dinner.
– While consistency is best, flexibility wins the day: homework time may vary depending on activity times. 
– Using a schedule or planner can help visualize time blocks
– Have the same spot every day where your child can do their homework, such as a kitchen table or desk.
– Ensure that distractions are kept to a minimum so that your child can focus on their studies.

Incorporating Technology Into The Routine

Let’s face it—technology is an integral part of our lives and kids are no exception. But if used correctly, technology can be an invaluable tool for working parents to help manage their after school routine. To begin with, parents can use apps such as Google Calendar or Cozi that easily allow all family members to stay up-to-date on activities and appointments.

Through these apps, parents can also set reminders for tasks like picking up the kids from a friend’s house or bringing clothes to soccer practice.

Another way technology can help is through online organizational tools like Trello or Airtable. These tools give families a place to store information about contacts, upcoming events, and even recipes in one central location that everyone has access to. Plus, many of these tools offer mobile versions which makes them especially helpful since parents often have limited time during the day to manage the household.

By using technology strategically and in moderation, working parents can actually find more quality family time throughout the week instead of feeling overwhelmed by a busy schedule. So don’t underestimate the power of technology – when used in combination with other scheduling strategies it can greatly improve your after school routine!

Scheduling Quality Family Time

At the end of the work day, we shift into focus on family. Working parents have a unique challenge in balancing work and home life. But carving out quality family time is essential for building strong relationships and creating lasting memories.

He’s a sample (and perhaps highly idealized) sample schedule to provide a few ideas to start from.

3-4 PMAfter School Activities or HomeworkGets homework out of the way early so time can be spent on other activities
5-6 PMCook dinner together as a familyImproves communication and strengthens family bonds
6-7 PMPlay outdoor games or sportsProvides physical activity, increases self-esteem, and builds stronger relationships with family members
7-8 PMShare stories from your day and listen to each other’s experiences, wind down for bedtimeEnhances emotional intelligence, encourages empathy, and offers support to one another

It can be tricky to schedule in an hour or two of quality family time each day, but it’s worth the effort! The benefits are immeasurable and will pay dividends for years to come in terms of improved communication, stronger relationships, and better overall health. Plus, it’s just plain fun!

While it’s great to sit down to a family dinner, some evenings just may not be workable to gather everyone around the same table with busy schedules.  We have nights where both parents grab a kid and head to a different activity.  We’ve found that we enjoy one on one time with the kids (and sometimes they enjoy a break from their sibling.)  This helps us bond with our kids and give them individual attention.  We just make sure not to pack the schedule so much that every night is a rush from one thing to the next.

Now that we’ve taken care of the important stuff it’s time to prepare for the following day; let’s take a look at what that involves…

Prepare For The Following Day

Now that you’ve scheduled in quality family time, it’s time to start thinking about the next day. Working parents have a lot on their plates and getting ready for the following day is key to staying organized and avoiding a stressful morning. To do this, parents can make use of some simple strategies that will save them precious time and energy.

Want an easy morning routine?  Here’s a secret: Do most of the planning the night before.  Pack lunches and school snacks, pick out clothes, get bakpacks ready etc. 

Whether you’re using a printable planner or online calendar app, check the schedule for the following day.  Make sure all the assignments and homework are ready for their day at school. Make sure you’re not forgetting a themed dress up day or field trip. A few minutes glancing at our schedule has saved us a morning scramble on more than one occasion.

With these two steps taken care of, it’s easier than ever to jump into planning relaxation and wind-downs after a long day of work and other commitments.

Planning  Relaxation And Wind-Downs

After a long and hectic day, it’s important to plan a few moments of relaxation and wind-down for yourself and your family. This will help you settle the kids down for bed and let you recharge, reset, and be ready to face all that comes your way the next day.

One way to do this is by carving out some time each evening before bedtime to enjoy something calming together as a family – or have some individual space to unwind. Whether it’s reading stories or having conversations about the day, these small moments can have big impacts on how we feel after a long day.

Having a consistent bedtime routine helps let the kids know that it’s time for bed.  This can be as simple as: pajamas, toothbrush, and a bedtime story.  We like to spend a few nights individually with each child to tuck them in and let them talk for a few moments about whatever is on their mind.

Setting Bedtime Expectations

Parents who work full-time need often struggle to get their kids to bed on time – or just get them to bed, period. It’s important to stick to a regular bedtime routine, as it helps kids fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.  (A bedtime routine helps adults too!)

But setting a strict bedtime can be hard. There are always the inevitable excuses from your little darlings about why they can’t possibly go to bed right now – they need to beat the next level in a game, or they need to finish streaming an episode of their favorite show. So how do you set expectations without turning into a taskmaster?

Be firm and stick to your routine.  That’s the whole point of making the schedule.  That said, things will not always go according to plan.

Keeping The Routine Flexible

Creating a successful after school routine feels like winning the parenting lottery when it works – it’s a major accomplishment!  While it’s great to have that consistent routing, flexibility is key. This means being able to adapt and pivot when needed, according to the day’s schedule. 

There are last minute assignments (at work and at school), flat tires, bad weather, and all kinds of things that can monkey wrench even the most carefully crafted plan.  Roll with it, shake it off, and do the best you can to get things done. 

Allow yourself some slack; life can get pretty hectic at times, so try not to beat yourself up too much if things don’t go as planned.  Tomorrow’s another day.

Ultimately, remember that your family comes first – they should always be a priority before any job or task. If you can create an atmosphere of understanding and respect between you and your children, then sticking with the routine won’t feel like such a chore. With that in mind, it’s time to talk about something that many parents overlook or push aside completely; prioritizing self-care.

Prioritizing Self-Care

It’s all too easy for working parents to neglect their own needs after a busy day. But the truth is, it’s just as important—if not more so—for them to take time out and prioritize self-care. Here are three simple ways to inject some rest and relaxation into your after school routine:

Set aside 20 minutes Whether it’s an evening stroll around the block, a few moments of quiet reflection or curling up with a good book – carve out 20 minutes each day to do something that brings you joy.

Make time for hobbies After your kids have settled into bed, devote an hour or two to those hobbies that you never seem to get around to. From knitting and painting to gardening and woodworking – we all need something in our lives that’s just for us.

Take care of yourself Even if you can only spare 10 minutes before bed, use this time wisely. Read a bit, meditate, write some journal pages, or whatever little thing is most meaningful – this is your chance to unwind and recharge for the next day.

Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive; it’s simply about taking the time out from our hectic daily lives and doing something that makes us feel good. And when we do, we can make sure that our after school routine is full of joy and contentment rather than stress and exhaustion!

Wrap Up – Creating an Evening Routine for Working Parents 

Well, there you have it: an after school routine that working parents can use to make sure their kids are taken care of while they’re at work. Establishing a schedule and calendar, designating time for homework, planning relaxation and wind-downs, setting bedtime expectations, keeping the routine flexible, and prioritizing self-care can help create a structure that works best for everyone in the family.

The key is to find what works best for your family – something that allows them to stay active, finish their homework on time, and still get enough rest each night. With some dedication and consistency, you’ll be able to create a routine that will help your kids thrive!


Howie Miller is as dedicated to fatherhood as he is to life long learning. Musician, Photographer, Educator, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Blogger, and founder of STEMtropolis, where you can share his adventures in STEM and STEAM with his family.

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