If this is a day where there is a soccer practice or scout meeting or other activity, have Sam get ready. If this is free afternoon, make sure that he gets to run around outside. You can go to a nearby park or for a jog together. Sam can ride his bike or walk the dog or shoot hoops with a pal or sibling. The days are getting shorter, eventually there will be very little daytime after school. Being outside is invigorating. Getting physical exercise is shown to help one’s focus. Depending on the amount of homework, time of year and other commitments, the outside time should be 30 minutes or a little longer. Then Sam can sit down look at his assignments and start his homework.
Have him organize which assignment he will tackle first. He might want to explain it to you. This will help him clarify the directions in his own mind. While he is working you can be available to answer questions. Make sure he has a clean, quiet, distraction free area with the needed supplies for his homework. Let him plan this area with some guidance before the school year starts. When his homework is complete, have him put it in an organized binder or folder (depending on what his teacher requires) and into his backpack for the next morning. There will be less running around and looking for homework and books in the morning.
Dinner should be family time if possible. The after dinner hour can be used to complete homework, get ready for bed, maybe a quick game or 15-20 minutes of screen time (depending on your rules and Sam’s age). Before bed, Sam can have a time to read with you and then on his own. Even older children love to hear stories. You can discuss the book together. It also gives Sam a chance to enjoy a story that may be too difficult to read alone.
This type of schedule keeps some of the hustle and bustle to a minimum. Outside activities like sports and music lessons are wonderful, but every child should have some days where he or she is free to explore, make up and negotiate the rules of a game with a sibling or neighbor, or pick up autumn leaves for an art project. The hurried pace of the children in the DC area coupled with the overuse of electronics is taking a toll on our children. They feel more anxious. As the school year starts think about what you can do to keep your child healthy and happy.