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September 06, 2023

Three After School Hacks I Use as A Montessori Parent

A new school year is here for us! I can't believe it! I now have four children attending Montessori schools in four different levels - everything from Children's House to an adolescent program. With all these kids in schools - even schools that respect their needs for movement and give a lot of outdoor time - there are a lot of feels when we get home. Especially the first couple weeks as everyone adjusts to the new routine. 

After School Hacks for Montessori Homes

Over the years, I've tried a few different things in order to help our after school time feel a little more smooth. I've come to the conclusion that it is impossible for kids not to come home from school and just need to let off some steam. There will always big emotions, strong urges and some hangries. But, there have been a few parenting hacks we've incorporated to help my kids and myself during a more challenging part of the day. 

Now, these "hacks" are really just things that have worked for our family based on my personal observations of my kids. I highly recommend that you do some observations for yourself to see what your children truly need after a day of school. These observations will be key to know what things to remove and what things to try as you help your kids regulate after school. This is true if it's a Montessori school or a more traditional academic environment. 

Have Snacks at the Ready 

Hack number 1 - snacks. This is non-negotiable for my kids. Seriously, in the car, bust out some snacks. The sooner the better. I try for some protein and some bit of a treat. But honestly, I've found the exact snack matters a lot less than giving them something. The first few weeks of school especially when lunch seems to be a lot more chatting with friends than eating. Best thing we ever started doing was car snack, with getting food in the minute I see them.

Try Pointed Questions - But not Right Away

"How was your day?" is a sure fire way to get the response "fine" and nothing else. For us, open ended questions lead no where and leave me feeling a lot of disconnect about their school experiences. Instead, I've switched to more pointed questions which tend to get the conversation flowing. But, timing is everything. My kids aren't ready to chat about their days in the car on the way home, while I'm super excited to see them, they need a few minutes to decompress and relax. Later in the afternoon, or early in the evening, I'll circle back to school. A few questions include: 

  • What was something that made you laugh today? 
  • What was one thing you didn't expect? 
  • What was the most annoying moment?
  • Did you get a lesson? 
  • Tell me something that was unexpected? 
  • Who did you talk with at lunch? 

Don't ask all of these at once, but choose one that feels relevant to their mood or day. Let them take the lead and share as they are ready. 

Be Prepared for Activity or to Chill 

This is super specific to each child. Some are going to need to chill after school. They will need to decompress with some favorite sensory toys, and a couple of books. I like to be ready for these kids by having a few things sitting out on the coffee table ready to go. Others will need to run around, get outside and be loud and run free. I try to make this possible by keeping our afternoons screen free, and as free from appointments and schedules as possible. 

Dive into a detailed guide on how to create a relaxing after-school routine for your child that respects their specific needs, leverages the Montessori method and promotes a smoother transition from school to home.

After school will always be a hectic time in our family of five kids. But, these simple changes have made it easier for us to transition home and have peaceful evenings together. I wish you all the best this new school year and hope that these Montessori parenting hacks will be helpful for your family. 


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Anonymous said…
Thank you so much for this article. As always it's very helpful. Especially the examples of the questions to ask. I also keep our afternoons TV free. I noticed that this helps children to process the day and even open up (sometimes).