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Child & Youth Program

Lead Child & Youth Program

Brian Stoudnour Contractor
Office: (802)-338-3369

Child and Youth Series: Big Changes Deployment Forces on Teens with Jonathan Catherman and Brian Stoudnour


Episode 1 

Episode 2




NEWS | Sept. 8, 2022

Back to School Routines

The beginning of the school year is exciting and challenging; time to switch from the less-structured summer days to more-structured school days = earlier bedtimes, homework, extracurricular activities, and beyond. And quite possibly new faces (teachers, classmates), new schools (from an elementary school to middle school…) and changing expectations (new grading method, a heavier homework load…) which can set-off a mix of emotions. Establishing an After-School Routine could provide some much-needed support during this transition time.

In these few short and hectic after-school hours have competing demands: extracurricular activities, homework, household duties, and personal time. But you can control some of the activities you do during this time and have flexibility in the choices made. Setting up this after-school routine will enable you to be more organized and maximize this time.

When the day’s events are predictable, we are more secure and confident. Creating routines (structure) has been shown to reduce conflicts. Routines enable us to feel a greater sense of understanding, control, and predictability.

Creating your families After-School Routine should be an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ family activity because all members have competing priorities, and commitments. Here are some considerations to include in yours:

  • Healthy Snack: We all get hungry after a long day at school, or work. Grab something healthy low in sugar, saturated fat, and salt like fresh fruit or veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. But remember it is just a snack, keep portions sized accordingly. Strive to plan ahead and have them easily and readily accessible.
  • Homework Time: A lot of you will have homework, some of you (especially younger kiddos) may need help from an adult. Establish a daily time, and specific location (comfortable, limited distractions e.g., phones, siblings), and needed supplies at the ready. If you get stuck, or confused ask for help-we ALL need it sometimes.
  • Extracurricular Activities: FYI-participating in these will likely improve your academic success, further your character and provide positive social interaction, and deepen your community involvement! Beyond that, joining an organized sport has immediate and long-term benefits for youth: lower rates of anxiety and depression, increase satisfaction, and improve physical health.
  • Physical Activity: Having regular physical activity benefits us in so many ways, especially kiddos. Like, improved cardiorespiratory fitness, stronger muscles and bones, control weight, reduced risk of anxiety, depression, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Not only that but better grades, improved attendance, increased memory, and better behavior. This will benefit the entire family; you may want to dedicate this piece of your routine to a ‘family activity’!
  • Household Responsibilities: These provide critical life skills like time management, cooperation, organization, as well as how to do laundry, wash the dishes and prepare food. They also improve personal responsibility, care for belongings, and increased sense of value and accomplishments. Be sure tasks are developmentally appropriate, and know that training and practice may be required.
  • Family Time: Attention and affection increase a sense of significance and belonging which we all need, especially kiddos. With those come a better attitude, and improved behavior. Make this time QUALITY by involving shared activity which will offer improved communication skills, mutual admiration, and respect.
  • Downtime: Screen-free, unstructured activity of your choosing will allow time to destress, encourage creativity, and allow brains and body time to recover. Go outside, draw, read for pleasure. Meditate, or daydream!


Putting it all together should be a family event. Having realistic expectations will assist in choosing the most important activities will be included. Look to your circle of support for carpooling, used equipment for activities. Maybe try a shared family calendar? Be patient while the routine is established, and it may need modified if it is not working for everyone. There are many ways to go about the creation of your family’s routine, here is a template to assist.

After-School Routine Planning Worksheet

  • _____ pm – Arrive home from school
    • Unpack backpack, lunch box, and notes from the school
  • _____ pm – Snack
    • Offer healthy, snack-sized options
  • _____ pm – Homework
    • Offer a well-lit and comfortable workspace that has limited distractions
    • Make necessary materials accessible (e.g., calculator, pencil sharpener, notebook, computer)
    • Ensure a parent or caregiver is available if assistance is needed
  • _____ pm – Household Responsibilities
    • Select developmentally appropriate tasks. Ensure your child knows how to complete tasks independently or family members may choose to work together
  • _____ pm – Physical Activity/Extracurricular Activity/Family Time
    • 60 minutes of physical activity each day is recommended
  • _____ pm – Dinnertime
    • Enlist your child’s help in planning, preparation, and dinner cleanup
    • Eliminate distractions, such as cell phones and television
  • _____ pm –Downtime
    • This screen-free, unstructured time may include an enjoyable or relaxing activity such as reading, drawing, journaling, appreciating nature, or daydreaming
  • _____ pm – Bedtime Routine
    • Your child’s bedtime routine may include tidying up their bedroom, packing their backpack for the next day, bathing, shared or independent reading, and quiet time
  • _____ pm – Lights Out
    • Strive for adequate sleep time for your child
    • A screen-free sleeping environment is recommended



Christison, C. (2013). The benefits of participating in extracurricular activities. Brandon University Journal of Graduate Studies in Education5(2), 17-20.


President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition Science Board. (2020, September 17). Benefits of youth sports


Penn State, Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness. Establishing an After-School Routine.