Another school year is upon us, and from day one I felt the overwhelming After School Dread. You see, I don’t know if all households are like this, but at my house as soon as those bus doors open, children come flying down the street, slamming open the front door, and charging in like a miniature tornado. The child-fueled F-1 is immediately followed by demands for aid. Snacks, drinks, papers shoved in my general direction, begging to attend this event or that, sign up for one activity or another- it’s enough to make anyone lose their mind, especially a mom who had, up until that point, been enjoying the peaceful bliss that occurs when her other two children are napping.
I finally decided I needed to find a solution to this school aftermath. As things were, I was getting stressed out and irritated and overwhelmed, not to mention disorganized as well. It was all just too much. I decided to try one-on-ones with my kids after school. The rule is that when the kids get in the door, I give hugs and ask general how-was-your-days, then I sit on the couch with one of them and we set the timer for 10 minutes. My kids take turns for who goes first, and whoever isn’t having a chat with me is usually in the kitchen getting a snack or starting on their homework.
My one-on-one chat usually involves me asking how their day was, if anything particularly good or bad happened, and looking over any school papers they’ve brought home. I also check to see what their homework is and make sure they understand what it is as well.
I’ve found that just touching base with each of them individually not only saves my sanity, but causes me to actually look forward to seeing them when they get home. I enjoy the little stories they tell me about their day and I appreciate the chance to really listen to how they felt about certain things. I also feel much more in control of the information they bring home and more able to process their requests. In turn, I think the kids feel like they have more of me than before, and they seem genuinely eager for that one-on-one time.
Is there a part of your day that’s more hectic than it needs to be? How can you slow things down and make it calmer?