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Kids don't play by script

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
Last year I was flipping channels trying to find something I wanted to watch while folding laundry (a chore I detest), and happened upon a episode of "The Brady Bunch." The kids were coming home from school, peacefully walking in the door grabbing some fruit off the table and heading to their rooms to change clothes and do homework.
Where were the arguments over choices for snack, changing clothes, doing homework, and everything else under the sun? My 15 year old informed me it was because that was the way "The Brady Bunch's" script was written. So I asked if I wrote an "after school" script would that work?
Let's just say she didn't even smile; she just rolled her eyes and walked away.
OK, so you can't "script" your kids, but I started thinking about it and here's what I tried. First, I always have some sort of snack planned. What it is depends on how much time I've had that day. If it's been a very busy day and I haven't had time to cook then we have things like graham crackers and cream cheese, microwave popcorn, cheese sticks or cubes, etc. If I've had some time to bake we have things like snicker doodles, no-bake cookies, banana bread, etc. I always try to have fruit available. Another thing we do is have an "Ice Cream Day" once a week where we stop on the way home from school and pick up treat – usually ice cream, slushies, or milk shakes. This allows me not to have to worry about snack one afternoon a week and gives the kids something special to look forward to.
I also try to make sure the kids have sometime to unwind before they have to do their chores and homework. I do have to be careful to watch the clock, because it's easy for me to get busy with something and realize that we were supposed to start homework an hour before! That's where timers come in handy to remind me to start homework, dinner, baths, or whatever.
So I guess I have a "script" now. It's just my own and because I know what's supposed to be coming next and can plan for it. My family stays on track, is much more organized, and usually calmer.
What do you do in the afternoons after school and after work that helps your family? Send me your thoughts and suggestions to share with others at Mom's Corner; P.O. Box 1496; Hartselle, AL 35640.