Success in school is the result of many factors. These factors can range from things we cannot control like our intelligence level to things we can control like our after school routines. I believe after school routines are incredibly important in how a student performs in school.
Student #1: Comes home from school, gets a snack. Decides to camp out on the couch to watch Netflix in order to "take a break" from her long school day. Mother walks in and encourages her daughter to begin her homework. The daughter moans, "I am tired from a long day. I need a break. I'm still eating." Thirty minutes later, mother declares, "Turn off the TV and get started on your homework." Student goes to her room to "start her homework". An hour later, mother checks in on daughter, "have you started your homework?" Daughter, quickly hides her phone because she has been face timing with her friend. Daughter replies, "Oh not yet, I don't really have that much and I was talking to Lauren about the assignment." Mother replies, " you were supposed to be doing your homework, dinner will be ready in ten minutes." After dinner... "Go upstairs and do your homework." 20 minutes later, daughter comes downstairs, "Mom, I need help with my homework." Two hours later, it is 9:30 and homework is not done yet. Mother tells daughter, "I'm going to bed. You need to be asleep by 10:00 or you will be tired tomorrow." Daughter, now in tears, sobs, "Mom, I have at least another hour of homework and I'm tired. I can't do this. I don't understand it." So it goes, almost every night. By the time the daughter finishes her homework, picks out her clothes for the next day, and gets ready for bed, it is 11:00. The next day, this disaster starts all over again.
Student #2: Comes home from school, gets a snack. Sits down at kitchen table and gets right to homework assignments. Mother walks in and asks daughter how school went. Daughter replies, "school was Ok. I am so tired, but I have SO MUCH HOMEWORK!" Mother encourages daughter, "well, it's really good that you are getting started on it now. That way, you can go to bed early tonight and get caught up on your sleep." Daughter works on her homework until dinner time. After dinner daughter says to her mother, "I need help with a few questions on my homework. Can you help me?" Mother replies, "sure." Thirty minutes later it is 7:30 and daughter is finished with her homework. Daughter goes upstairs watches an hour of Netflix, picks out her clothes for the next day, and gets ready for bed. She is asleep by 9:30.
Ok, so obviously who do you think is going to have more success in school? Student #1 who procrastinates and has no routine set up or student #2 who has an automatic routine to get her work done with a lot less stress. I'm going with student #2.
Creating an after school routine is so very basic. However, not every student or family does a good job of it.
Suggestions for a great routine:
! Create a time limit for after school "decompression".
2. Create a space in which to complete homework.
3. Set specific limits on screen time (only allowed after work is complete? Or a limited amount of time for the entire night?)
4. Family dinner- Studies suggest that family meals on a regular basis increase a student's chance for school success. Adolescents who ate family meals five to seven times a week were twice as likely to get A's in school as those who ate dinner with their families fewer than two times a week.
5. Allow student to have ownership in creating the routine.