These days, it’s easy to see why families feel like there are not enough hours in the day. Whether it’s balancing responsibilities at both work and home, keeping up with busy after-school schedules or simply finding time to do laundry, many households are challenged with growing to-do lists, which quickly become points of tension and stress.

One of the most effective ways to balance a busy schedule with quality family time is planning ahead to combine enjoyable activities with tasks you need to get done. Check out these five after-school activities that will help you find better balance in your home:

Develop a routine—and stick to it

Establishing an after-school routine is key to making evenings run smoothly. Include children in the process of making your family’s after-school schedule so they feel a part of decisions that will affect them. Ask limited-choice questions, like “Would you prefer to read a story before or after your bath?” Most importantly, keep the routine consistent. Once little ones know what to expect after school, nightly tasks like brushing teeth or picking a story for bedtime are more likely to run smoothly.

Prepare healthy snacks in advance

Unhealthy snacking habits are easy to fall into, especially at the end of a long day. Try preparing a week’s worth of healthy snacks in advance. Pre-chop and store fruits and veggies in plastic containers or buy pre-sliced cheeses, fruits and vegetables so they are easily accessible when the hunger hits. You can make after-school snack time even more valuable by leaving paper and crayons or books near the table to help keep your children occupied.

Turn everyday tasks into games

Children love to help. Getting them involved in something on your to-do list is a great way to stay productive while spending quality time together. Turn the task of folding laundry into a matching game or ask children to sort unwashed clothes by color. Make up a song about silverware and plates while doing dishes. Get creative to make the task seem more enjoyable for both you and your children. 

Fit in fitness

Some days, making time for physical activity seems impossible. One way to get in a few minutes of fitness is to have a family dance party while dinner is in the oven. Put on a favorite song and show off those dance moves! It helps to remember daily physical activity doesn’t have to mean a run every morning. Dancing keeps your family active and releases pent-up energy after a day at work and school.

Prepare for the next day

Preparing at night for the next day sounds daunting, but it really does save time and eliminate stress in the morning. Pack lunches and school bags, help your children pick out clothes and talk about the schedule for the next day. You’ll feel a lot better in the morning knowing your family is ready to face the day!

For more parenting tips from Primrose Schools, check out the Pointers for Parents blog.

To learn about Primrose Schools, visit PrimroseSchools.com. Check out the 45 Primrose schools in the Atlanta Metro Area and find the school closest to you at PrimroseSchools.com/Atlanta.

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