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Smart Solutions for After School
Make a family workspace work for everyone. Clear plastic Snap Cases can serve as In and Out boxes for permission slips and other school papers. Leave one marked “Homework” on the desk as well; as kids finish their assignments, they can drop them in the bo

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Back to School Solutions
Smart Solutions for After School
A little work beforehand can save time and keep kids on track when they get home

Every parent knows the real work begins after school. Juggling homework, snacks and extracurricular activities can be a real challenge (to say the least). Here are several solutions to help you direct the evening rush with ease.

Stock the fridge
Preassemble nutritious and delicious snacks—cubed cheese, sliced fresh fruit, “baby” veggies—in single-serving containers, and let children help themselves to a treat. While you’re packing lunches, pour juice into extra sip bottles for kids to drink later. Dedicate a kid-level shelf in the refrigerator to the snacks so little ones will know where to look.

Create a desk-on-the-go
Keep homework supplies in a plastic bin or basket so kids will have everything they need to work at the kitchen table, in their bedrooms or wherever they like. Include pencils, pens, erasers, protractor set, calculator, ruler, art supplies, a small dictionary and so on.

Stop the paper chase
Set up an after-school “debriefing station” near the entryway or on a desk. Label one box or tray for school notes or permission slips and another for homework that needs to be checked. A third might hold kids’ artwork. Then have each child sort the contents of his book bag at the end of the day.

Keep a supply of healthy after-school snacks at the ready on a low shelf in the refrigerator, for kids to grab. Prepare (and pre-pour) at the start of the week and store in TakeAlongs Twist & Seal Containers and Litterless Juice Boxes.

Chart everyone’s chores
Post a list of everyone’s to-dos (including mom’s and dad’s) by night of the week, so there’s no confusion about who is responsible for what. Less debating equals less stress.

Make dinner easier, cheaper and healthier
Pricey prepackaged meals (which can be high in sodium and calories) aren’t the only option when you’re short on time. Plan weekday dinners prior to your trip to the grocery store, then prep several days’ worth of ingredients when you get home—wash and slice veggies, marinate meat or tofu and prepare homemade salad dressing. If you have time, cook a few dishes and freeze them. Seal everything in food storage containers and you’ll pare precious time from midweek cooking.