During the three months of summer, many of us abandoned or at least neglected a routine. We basked in the summer laxness. As the school year begins, it is most definitely time to get back on track! Whether you are homeschooling or your children are attending school outside of the home, routines have to be established for our children to be productive and successful students!
After-School Routines pave the way for success. What are your children doing after school when they come home? Do you have some order set at home? There are several ways we can get our children in the habit of following a routine and making the most of after school time.
1) Making the Transition
The transition from being at school all day to coming home should be a smooth process. Upon returning home, children should settle down by putting their things away – this teaches organizational skills, cleanliness, and the beginning of a routine.
Here is a perfect opportunity to teach them a sunnah to establish as part of their life – the sunnah act is to use the miswak upon returning home. The children should get out of their school clothes and ready to have a snack. Take this snack time to catch up with your child – there is much importance in the words: “How was your day?” If you want your children to have a good relationship with you in their teenage years, establish open communication and a good relationship now. Show you are interested in what they have done all day, how they felt, what they learned. This prepares you and the child for the next step.
This is where some parents slip up – some children are allowed to lounge for long periods of time and then hurriedly do their homework just before bedtime. The sooner they do their homework, the better. We are teaching to our children now that it is not okay to procrastinate, and that once we handle our responsibilities, then we can afford the luxury of other activities.
While the school lessons are fresh in mind, take time to work with your child on their homework; if your child did not understand the day’s lesson, take the time you spend working on the homework together as time to also help them understand the lesson. This is a time that requires patience and positive affirmation. It is difficult for you or the child to understand the lesson/homework if it’s being rushed, so it is advisable to do this in the earlier part of the routine.
3) Preparation for the next day
The key to success (in dunya and akhirah) is preparation. Teaching our children to prepare for the next day will make the next morning smoother and calmer insha’Allah. Help children prepare their book-bags. As a mom and teacher I have found children coming to school with missing books, homework etc. Take time to help children have everything ready for the next day, even clothes. Laying clothes out in a designated place is important. When children jump out of the shower in the morning, everything is set for them, down to the socks!
4) Family time
Make dinner a time to have that quality bonding time and memorable moments. Growing up I have many memorable moments at the dinner table. Also take this time to explain to your children what will be happening next – that after dinner you will do x, y, and z (the night time routine, whether that includes story, bath, brushing teeth, etc.). This way, everyone will know what to expect and it will become a habit and what we strive to teach as aspects of being future successful adults: routines, preparations, time management.
Homeschooling moms such as myself should alter this list to their homeschooling schedule and also teach the importance of keeping a routine.
While this is not included above, activities should be scheduled around the prayer times so that you teach the importance and establish the practice of praying punctually insha’Allah. Also pray as a family, the hearts are joined together when we pray together. As well, it is beneficial to schedule some time even if it is just 15 minutes or half an hour to have ‘deen time’ – here are some ideas: you can teach them Arabic/tajweed (how to read The Qur’an), read a Prophetic story, discuss an Islamic character trait/virtue, explain the basics of Islam, memorize a short surah with them, listen to an Islamic video. Treat this as an exciting activity to similarly inspire enthusiasm among your children, and ensure that this time is particularly enjoyable and engaging (discussions, questions, quizzes). You can incorporate Islamic learning during After School Routines, reciting duaa’s at the dinner table and ending the day by reciting Ayatul Kursi before sleeping, and making duaas for the ummah/family/friends. It’s easy to add acts of ibadah all throughout the day, and turn are actions into ibadah.
Establishing good habits starts from an early age. My four year old has his schedule on the wall that was made by Creative Motivations and so he is able to check off for himself the things he did that day. His schedule includes home-school, breakfast, potty time, bath, etc and this helps him to learn the same important steps that will help him in the future. Raising productive successful children is part of our mission; let’s do that in the best way! Implementing these simple steps is a good start on our road to productivity insha’Allah!
About the Author
Ameera Rahim is part of the parenting team known as Habeebee Homeschooling (http://habeebeehomeschooling.wordpress.com) and is seen often providing support, resources, and sharing her family’s homeschooling journey on facebookwww.facebook.com/habeebeehomeschooling.
She resides with her loving husband Ameer Idris in New York where they homeschool their three boys and love sharing their hands-on learning experience. Ameera advocates early learning, family bonding, and early literacy in the homes.