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Summer is definitely over, and fall is definitely here…for most of us. Here in Texas, it’s still in the mid to upper 80’s most days…though today it is supposed to reach 95 degrees before the sun goes down.
This means that it’s perfect weather for my kids to get outside and run some energy off. In fact, when I was growing up, I spent most of my days outside rain or shine. But today, play is disappearing at home, in school, and in communities: 70% of moms played outside when they were kids, 31% of their kids play outside today.
Did you have homework in first grade? I sure didn’t, but Smalls certainly does. He actually has a Homework Folder that his teacher fills with any assignments he didn’t finish in class (which is a lot of them), and graded assignments that aren’t at 100%.
While I appreciate the fact that his teachers want him to do all of his work and do it correctly, if I let it, homework time can literally last until bedtime with a short break for dinner. Thankfully, we have a killer routine that makes sure Smalls gets his homework done (most of the time), and gets play time outside.
My kids are ALWAYS hungry-so I keep snacks in my bag. I have tried everything from crackers to nuts, and the ONLY thing they like are bars.
I keep bars chopped into smaller pieces so they are a bit less messy for the car in my bag. I also make sure we have on hand after school snacks because my first grader is usually famished.
In the car on the way home, he’ll easily devour an entire one of MY CLIF bars, so having his is amazing. Plus, CLIF Kid Zbar® are a great healthy choice. They are made with organic ingredients, non-GMO, and free from high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and synthetic preservatives. You can find out more by watching this awesome CLIF kid video.
Smalls eats lunch at 12:10 p.m. and gets out of school at 3:35. By the time we get home it’s 4:00 and he’s starving.
It’s important to empower kids to make healthy choices about food, especially snacks. That is why I have my pantry set up with a “snack station” where the kids can choose healthy items like CLIF Kid Zbar®, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and more.
I put a bowl of snacks on the dining room table during homework time.
This way the boys can choose 1 or 2 nutritious snacks while they work to get their homework done. Lately, the snack station is exclusively CLIF Kid Zbar® because it’s not a fight to get them to eat healthy. I also make sure to have their water bottles full.
CLIF Kid® makes nutritious snacks from organic ingredients that are specially-crafted for kids’ developing taste buds and active lives.
Once we’re home, Smalls (and The Baby because he wants to be just like his awesome big brother) sits down to do 30 minutes of homework. Often he doesn’t use this time, but for him routine is very important, so if he finishes up his school work we’ll do a craft or other activity to stretch his brain-lately we’ve been working on hieroglyphs because Smalls is fascinated with Egyptian history (not that I’m complaining).
I’ve had many moms ask me how I get the boys to sit down and do their work-and it’s honestly really simple. I keep a bin with the items we usually need to do homework, which includes a large eraser, glue stick, pencils, crayons, blank paper (for The Baby), and safety scissors.
This also makes it easy to pack up and put away so that Smalls doesn’t feel like he has to work on homework all afternoon.
When the “homework timer” (read: my kitchen timer) dings, the boys help me pack up the homework bin and I put it in the cupboard for tomorrow. Then, I kick them out of the house and into the back yard. We have an awesome set up for them to get their energy out including a screened in back porch with a trampoline.
While they’re running amok, I’m able to cook dinner or play with them if I remembered to put dinner in the Instant Pot that morning. All told, they get a good hour of outside play before dinner. Sometimes if they have’t finished their snacks, the boys have “picnics” with their CLIF Kid Zbar® in their play house.
Other times I’ll find them digging in the garden, chasing lizards, or playing in their sandbox. On Friday and Saturday night, they get to stay up a little late and are often playing with one of the neighbor kids. My house is a “hub” because we always get voted “best house for snacks.”
I’m rather proud of that title, to be honest!
Just because school is back in session, doesn’t mean kids should lose out on creative playtime. Take time out of each busy school week to get creative with your kids, allow them the time to have free-play, and watch their healthy habits grow.
How do you make sure homework doesn’t interfere with playtime in your house?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.