Free Printable After School Checklist

Free Printable After School Checklist

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Here we are with a free printable after school checklist. This post came to being completely due to the need for it in my house. The first full week of school is past us, and the kids are loving it. But let me tell you, they are tuckered out when they get home! Maybe you have perfect children (like myself and my brother when we were little – kidding!) who never fight and never have to be told to do something twice? HA! If you are one of those parents then count yourself lucky. Last week I almost lost my voice asking if they’d done homework, practiced piano, please stop fighting, and why oh why are there three pairs of shoes in the living room and two exploded backpacks?

Now, we’re starting to get homework and more activities going like volleyball, swimming, and piano lessons. So it’s time to take action! We’re not going to have time for me to remind the kids to do things over and over. Truly, that’s not something I want them relying on me for anyway. Therefore, I came up with this printable after school checklist so they can take some responsibility and not look at me as the taskmaster.

After school checklist pin

Do you need help keeping kids motivated for school?

School motivation feature

Why is an after school checklist helpful?

I love the after school checklist because it makes it perfectly clear to me and to the child what’s expected. There’s no questioning or testing. It’s written in black and white (or color!) and posted on the wall for all to see. Also, I the parent am not looked at as the enemy, that evil slave driver telling you to put away a backpack or do your homework. Instead, my kids can go look at the wall, cross off their completed tasks, and feel that sense of satisfaction when it’s done.

After school checklist in action

How can I use the after school checklist?

In the download, I’ve included a couple of different versions of the list. The first one is a general after school checklist that’s ready to go and complete, ready to print off and use. The second one is blank and customizable because I included a page of 27 task pictures you can cut out and use to mean whatever you like for your child. I would suggest having the child help with the picture cutting and writing out the task in the activity column. Bonus! This creates more buy-in for their new list.

There are a couple of ways you can use the downloadable checklist. You can print it out and customize if necessary. If you print it out in black and white I think it’s fun to have the kids color it and discuss it, again for more buy-in. To make it last longer I printed it on a thicker card stock paper and laminated it, but you can always just print out a new one every now and then.

After school checklist close-up

Checklist columns

The first column says “Flip-it” because you cut between the rectangles and fold them over so they “flip” to complete the activity. I actually used small velcro circles on the laminated version to keep them covered and to let what still needs to be done more easily seen. If that’s too much just make an X or check mark in the “Flip-it” column. In addition, you can laminate it (or cover it with plastic packing tape) and use a dry erase marker on it every day.

The second column is the “Activity” you want to be accomplished, written out. This rectangle will be covered up by the flip column when it’s complete (unless you choose the check mark method). Besides homework and putting away shoes, etc., I’ve also included things like having a snack, get moving! (exercise or sport), and packing a lunch for school the next day.

The third column is a picture that represents the task to be done. Pictures just make the list more colorful and fun, and if your child is not reading yet they will associate the picture with the activity and then not have to be read the list or shown where to flip over the tab. At the bottom of the page, there’s also a space to write what they’d like to do when their list is complete. It’s a win-win!

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After school checklist preview



Tell me how it works for you

I would love to hear how the after school checklist works for you and your family! Send me a note or comment below, but either way, I’d love to hear from you. We all know every child is different, but to understand expectations and have some predictability are great tools for kids. I hope this list helps you out. It’s already helping me regain my voice. Now to navigate the after school activities before we actually get home…

After school checklist vertical

School Motivation: Tips and Techniques

School Motivation: Tips and Techniques

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Here I am back at it after a super-fun, yet crazy summer! We had an incredibly busy summer of travel, swimming, friends, family reunions, church activities, camp, and more. In all of that we had a ton of great family time, but with all the activity I’ve recently been craving a regular daily schedule. This is also true especially for my preschooler who thrives on predictability. The week leading up to school, my son and daughter fought about everything and picked at each other constantly. More than once my daughter lamented, I wish school would start! I love that school motivation.

Yes, it’s that time of year again. School’s starting and kids are either super-excited, clinging on to summer, or dreading going back. For all these situations how do you cultivate a love of learning in the form of school? How can you continue school motivation consistently and throughout the year when even the most excited kid sees some burnout?

So what can we do as parents now to help our kids want to participate at school? School motivation can sometimes be a battle. With jobs and crazy schedules, it can be nuts. However, a little time here and there consistently is a huge investment in the future. I’ve come up with some techniques as a mom and a former teacher I’ve seen work to motivate your kids to take an active interest in their learning and progress. Of course, every child is different, and you know your child, so choose what’s best for you.

School Motivation Techniques

School Motivation pin

Talk about what’s happening at school

This one’s pretty basic, right? But so important! Show interest in what they’re doing at school and expand on it when you can. Go to the museum, watch the eclipse, read with your child nightly (or if they’re older let them see you reading). If you show excitement, they will too. Even the teenagers.

Volunteer at school

Get involved and volunteer at school when you can. This one is tough, especially if you have little kids at home or a job that’s not flexible. Can you volunteer to read with kids at school once a month or week? Does the teacher need someone to run another center? If you can’t come often can you take the day off work and volunteer to go on the field trip to the zoo or the state Capitol?

Professions: Discuss what your kids will need to study to get there

School motivation, doctor

Talk to your kids about the future and what they’d like to do. Have/help them research the subjects they will need to learn about, and if the kids are older arrange a job shadow. If your kids are younger, talk to them about what they’ll need to learn about to do the job they’d like.

Schedule homework time

Include homework and study in their daily after school schedule or as a part of a chore chart. There’s a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of homework. Whatever side you’re on, homework’s generally expected, and it’s good to get into a routine. I like using the Dave Ramsey chore chart in Financial Peace Junior, but you can incorporate it to whatever system you use. My daughter in third grade gets a “commission” instead of an allowance for certain chores she does around the house. She also has chores and tasks she does not get paid for but are expected as being a part of the family. The catch is, if she doesn’t do her expected tasks like making her bed, doing homework, and practicing piano, she doesn’t get her commission for the extra chores she does. Money motivates all of us! Let’s instill a work ethic and not just an expectation of a weekly allowance.

Pssst! Be on the lookout for my free printable after school schedule coming out soon!

Host a book club or after school activity

Host a book club for your child and friends at school. You can do so many different activities with books – costumes, reenactments, discussions, parties, games, it’s truly endless. My daughter is very social and loves to be in a group. This is an awesome way to hang out with friends in a super positive way. Take a look at my post on Roald Dahl’s The BFG for ideas! Click here.

Do you want more ways to get your kids excited about learning?

10 tips to get kids excited about learning - feature

You can’t do it yet

If your child says, “I can’t do it!” respond with, “You can’t do it yet.” Make them understand you have to work to accomplish a goal. 

Nelson Mandela quote

Remove distractions and stick to a schedule

Remove distractions and stick to a schedule after school. I’m guilty of not getting this one right, but it’s so important. Set a specific time and place for your child to study or do homework. In addition, be sure the TV’s not on or a sibling argument’s not happening right in front of them. Remove other tempting distractions like that bead set she’s been using to make bracelets for all her friends, and have a snack before the homework starts.

Exercise and play!

Get those kiddos moving! So many schools have cut gym and recess time so make sure your kids get some play and movement in their day. What does that look like? It may mean playing on a volleyball team, going to soccer practice, playing at the playground, or running around the backyard.

Celebrate improvements and accomplishments

Point out improvements and accomplishments more than the negatives. Every little step is huge in motivating a child to enjoy school. Especially if the student has had past trouble in class, recognizing improvement and new understanding can be an amazing motivator.

Catch some Zzzs

Make sure you and your kids get enough sleep! Yes, I know it’s tough, but stick with bedtimes. I have a harder time with this than my kids because I’m trying to get so much done and still have some quiet time after they’re asleep. But, shockingly, I find I’m so much more efficient and get more done when I have a good amount of sleep! Imagine that! The same is true of kids.

Set goals

Write out specific goals for the semester or year, with each child, and put them on the fridge or at a work area. Also, refer to them throughout then discuss them at the end of the year to see where the kids end up. You can give a little celebration if they meet their goals. I like to give at least some of the goals numbers so the student has something specific to work toward.

For example, I will improve my reading level from 4.5 to 5.2. Find out what measurements they use at school and write out tangible goals. If your child is uncertain or shy, a goal could be to volunteer at least once a day to answer a question or help out. Or, a goal could be to do at least 5 kind things for others at school. Those could be like inviting another student to eat lunch with you, helping someone out with their math, cleaning up the classroom for the teacher, or playing with someone new at recess. Be creative! You know your child better than anyone and can work together to set the best goals for your student.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

-Nelson Mandela

Education and learning are so important to our kids. Everyone needs education in order to succeed in life, develop a work ethic, learn how to respect and get along with others, and so much more. School motivation is a huge part of loving learning in any setting. We want our kids to be curious and put forth a positive effort in school. At the same time, let’s instill the determination and positivity of the “growth mindset”, the idea they haven’t failed but just haven’t yet accomplished their goal. They must keep trying and work hard until they achieve it. So with fall upon us, try out some of these ideas in your schedules and daily lives. There are so many personalities and situations, but in utilizing some of these techniques, school motivation may naturally develop or at least turn in the right direction.

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