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parents panel

Parents Panel: What's the after-school routine in your house?

Is it straight into homework or is there a packed timetable of extracurriculars? We asked our panel to weigh in.


AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. 

Once the school pick-up is done, stage two of the day begins. This week, we asked our panel what their kids get up to once they’re home from school. Is it homework time at the kitchen table or is the schedule packed with extracurriculars? Or do the kids stay with a minder or relative during office hours?

This week we’re asking our panel…

What’s the after-school routine in your house?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7 Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly

Homework time starts straight away: As soon as they come in, it’s lunches out of the bag and then straight in to homework. If they get a glimpse of the potential of play time or TV time, then they are distracted, so we keep the routine on point. After homework it’s change of clothes and then whatever activities they might have.

- Alan Dooley

She loves routine so we keep it simple: My one-year-old Clíodhna absolutely thrives on routine and after creche is no different. Snack (while Mammy and Daddy’s dinner is being prepared), family dinner time, play time, bath and bedtime routine. Once Clíodhna is down we get ready to do it all again the next day. Really simple but it works.

- Ríona Flood

We go for a walk… or a cat-chase: We’ve started going for a walk around the block when we get home from Charlie’s minder’s. It started as a resistance to going inside and has transformed into a lovely little run around. Charlie loves cats so we typically try to find a few in the neighbors gardens. He gets such a kick out of actually seeing – and subsequently chasing –  one. I typically can’t collect him until 5.45pm, so we have to move into bedtime relatively soon after getting home which is a shame! It would be nice to have a longer window to play after pick-up.

- Kait Quinn

charlie2 Beware Charlie the Cat Chaser.... Kait Quinn Kait Quinn

We have three school pick-ups a day: There’s a mix of ages in our house. I get home just after midday from the first two school pick ups with three hungry under-fives. There’s enough time to eat any lunchbox leftovers or have a snack, and 90 minutes later we are back in the car for the final school collection of our eldest and back home. Her homework can take until dinner time. I try to get them all to clear up their mess/toys/games/ homework/shoes/bags a little before dinner. Sometimes it even works!

- Ross Boxshall

The only routine is our mealtimes: Homeschooling happens all throughout the day in our house so we don’t really have an after school routine. Most of the time I try to get the more structured curriculum done before lunch but if the weather is really good I will throw them out the door at the crack of dawn and push table-work off until after lunch. I find my kids can concentrate much better if we use up all that crazy kid energy in the morning. Then we can sit around the table and chill while we learn, with no fidgeting. It works for us. The only real routine we have is that I plan my day around meal times. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are static and don’t change much at all, unless we are out for the day.

- Susannah O’Brien 

shutterstock_376901863 Shutterstock Shutterstock

Schoolbags are examined first: Pre-school finishes at 12.30pm and generally we go home. Schoolbags are examined (when we remember!) to see what was eaten, and I’ll remove any leftover food items and empty water bottles.  Then we prepare and eat lunch and play or do something relaxing such a small bit of TV. On a Friday we visit Granddad and have lunch with him.

- Denise

We head to Nana’s, then straight home: Ellie’s in preschool until 4pm. On the way home we call to her Nanny and do whatever jobs need doing. Then straight home to check on Ellie’s older sister (now in Leaving Cert year) to make sure homework is being done. Then it’s toy time and TV time while I’m cooking dinner.

- Denise Cumiskey

We keep it relaxed so there’s more time for chats: On his full days in creche, our son is usually quite tired when we bring him home. Usually it’s time for a snack, then playtime. If the weather is nice, we try to get out in the garden or go for a walk. We are lucky that we have a playroom so he can play away to his heart’s content even if the weather is bad. We try to keeps the evenings as relaxed as possible and have chats with him, just to see how his day has been.

- Olly Keegan

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More Parents Panel: What has been your biggest ‘baby brain’ moment?>

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