Safe After School Routines for Kids
As working becomes a bigger part of achieving family dreams, kids may spend more time home alone in the hours after school. In order to ensure that their time is spent creatively and in a protected space, parents are turning to after-school programs and reinforcing at-home behaviors for kids when they arrive and nobody’s home.
We’ve got some great ideas to keep those little minds busy until dinner time, whether you’re away working or at home with the kids. Take a look at our expert tips — with a little structure and some parental guidance, after-school time can be productive and safe.
Research Local After School Care Programs
Explore the enrichment programs offered by your school’s PTA or other after school learning options that happens immediately after school’s over. With a seamless transition from school to supervised care, you may find options that keep them busy until you pick them up after work. Look online for programs at professional daycare centers — they can help to round out coverage for the kids when they’re not busy with other goings-on.
After School Routines to Learn
Kids work best when they know what’s going to happen next. Build out predictable routines by being consistent and assigning small tasks to be done as soon as they get home. After a few weeks, this small bit of routine can evolve into a regular process. Try a few of these tasks to get your kids started:
- Hang up your backpack
- Put away your coat
- Wash your hands
- Have a snack
- Do homework
Plan for free time
Sometimes, kids will have no homework. And they’ll hustle through their daily cleanup which leads to the issue of occupying their time after school. Be sure to have a plan to keep them busy with crafts they can do themselves, and a list of secondary chores to keep those busy hands occupied. Have them assist with getting dinner ready by setting the table, putting the clean dishes away. Another strategy is to lineup playdates for their free time with friends and family.
Hire a helper
If you’ve got errands to run or you’re expecting to be busy around the house, put the word out with local friends and family that you’re looking for a sitter. For a few dollars an hour, you may find a well-qualified helper to keep the kids on-task while you’re busy getting things done.
How Working Parents Can Manage Their Kids After School
Working into the early evening can present issues for parents — especially those whose kids are old enough to be home alone. But with a little training and consistent follow-up, you can set your latch-key kids up for success.
Install smart home tech to help keep the family safe.
With the simple addition of a video doorbell and a smart home alarm system, you can boost your ability to stay informed on your kid’s actions around the home. Better still, you’ll have some peace of mind that they’re home and your place is protected. And because we reward smart behavior, you may qualify for a smart home discount.
Create safety rules to set expectations
Keeping your worries under wraps will keep your kids from being afraid. Staying positive can make their being home alone a privilege. Many states have no age limit for when kids can be left unsupervised, yet the National SAFEKIDS Campaign believes 12 to be the minimum age.
Hiding temptation can eliminate it
Locking up medications, noxious cleaning supplies, firearms and alcohol is a no-brainer. Having parental controls on the TV and Internet can also keep curious minds from getting into places that may be harmful. In fact, staying home alone might be just the opening you need for much larger discussions on Internet usage. Be sure to work with your kids so that they know how to talk to you about social media and cyber-bullying if they’re allowed to be online while you’re away.
Practice the subtleties of safety
Dialing 911 seems intuitive, but it may not be to your child. Posting emergency phone numbers with a chore list can also keep them feeling confident and protected. Knowing how doors lock and unlock, what to do when various alarms sound and even knowing how to work a fire extinguisher can prove invaluable. Be sure to train them on how to handle typical emergency scenarios and those that are unique to your home.
Get the Coverage Your Home Needs
Building out new routines for the family helps keep them safe while they’re at home. Another important way of protecting what that matters most is with a custom-crafted homeowners policy. Get in touch with your American Family Insurance agent today to discuss your home’s unique coverage needs. You’ll find real comfort knowing that your dreams — and everything you hold so dear — is insured carefully.