I wrote a blog about the creating an inviting and safe atmosphere for your husband to come home to.
That post got me thinking about the same kind of environment I try to create for my kids as I prepare for them to return home from school.
Over the years I have taken mental notes of things that frustrate or cause anxiety for each of my kids.
Areyna hates for her room to be messy when she gets home. It also frustrates her to know that her younger siblings have gotten into her stuff while she is away.
So for her, I keep an eye out for her "stuff" being played with and try to redirect play with more age appropriate toys. I also try to make sure that her room is generally picked up by the time she gets home.
For Zeke, Mr. Over-stimulated-by-nature, I have to work a little harder. He likes structure. He also appreciates pleasant smells and tidiness and overwhelmingly needs his own stuff to remain as is while he is away.
To create a place where Zeke appreciates coming home to I like to already have a snack in mind so that I can let him know what he can look forward to when he gets home. At breakfast I kind of map out the afternoon plans so he knows what to expect. I also work EXTRA hard to put his stuff out of reach so nobody can get into it. When he is lucky the house is straight and "simmer" music is playing in the background. I can also light candles as soon as we return home.
Here are a few other things I strive to accomplish while my kids are at school:
1-Keeping my word - If one of them requests that I do something while they are at school and I say that I'll do it, I REALLY want to do it! This shows that I have been thinking about them while they are away and also shows respect.
2-Meal Preparation - In order to be able to really engage with them when they get home I HAVE to have a dinner plan in place. When I am able, I get as much prepared for dinner (and/or snack) as I can BEFORE they get home. ie. peeling and slicing veggies, browning meat, and laying out ingredients
3-EXTRAS - If I am out and about during the day I want them to know that we have thought about them. For example, Alethia and Cai love to bring them home something from the treasure box at Trader Joe's.
When you are in a season where you have a handful of littles that keep you from being able to help out during field trips and activities, you can still find ways to show them that you love them, think about them lots and are proud of their achievements at school!