How to Manage an End of Day Routine in Kindergarten


Make an end of day routine for your kindergarten class that finishes the entire day off on a positive note. Here’s how I managed our end of day routine in kindergarten. 

The end of the day can often be hectic – which is the opposite of how any of us really want to send our kinders home!

How to Manage an End of Day Routine in Kindergarten

Just like it’s important to have a morning routine, making a routine for the end of the school day helps kinders to know what you expect and learn how much time they have to get everything done.

Let me share how we had a routine to help keep things running smoothly and afforded me the time to connect with my kinders.

Our Going Home Routine

I used icons and taught the routine:

  1. Get their backpack (and any other gear from the closet), daily folder and take them to a workspace.
  2. Get either a marker to color their day OR get their papers to go in their folders.
  3. Then they do the other in step 2.
  4. They get their folder checked.
  5. The pack up their folder into their backpacks and get their gear on.
  6. They play (if time allows) OR line up.

How to Manage an End of Day Routine in Kindergarten - closet gear

Why We Have This Routine

I may have had additional steps than you have in your routine but I did this in order to make it easy on myself. Easy on myself in the long run.

That’s how I like to work – do the hard work on the front end (aka the beginning of the year) and let the benefits rule for the rest of the year.

How to Manage an End of Day Routine in Kindergarten - student folders

This routine allowed me to place the responsibility onto my kinders that they are totally capable of having. It’s my role to teach them how and follow through with expecting great things from them.

Expecting them to do all of those things freed me up to be more present mentally with my class at the end of the day and generally allowed for a more calm exit.

Don’t get me wrong – our room looked like a flurry of activity – and it was. But it was definitely an organized flurry.

A whole bunch of little bodies going around doing what they needed to do to get ready to go home in a manner that ensured they had everything they needed.

I didn’t assign everyone to get papers first, or everyone to get markers to color their day first because I simply didn’t want to create a traffic jam. This freedom allowed students to decide what made the most sense for them and assess which line looked shorter {wink}

How to Manage an End of Day Routine in Kindergarten - color day

And lastly, we had the system of using color cards in our classroom (though I know many people don’t use that today). So that meant I wanted to encourage accountability for their choices while at school.

They colored a square in their daily calendar in their folders to match their day and had it checked.

Teaching the End of Day Routine

I will admit that getting this going home routine running smoothly took longer than it did to get our morning up and running.

But that’s okay.

There are more multi-steps involved in this routine. Learning how to color their days AND get their own papers (not to mention filing them into the appropriate place in their folders) definitely took some time.

Using picture icons was a huge help in teaching the routine and helping some students recognize what they needed to do next.

How to Manage an End of Day Routine in Kindergarten - icons to help

Plus I used a social story that had pictures of every step. That reallllly helped those first two weeks of school. I’d read it almost every day before we began the end of day routine.

At the beginning of the year, I checked all of the folders to make sure that days were colored correctly and that they had papers in the right place.

We broke it down piece by piece, I planned a lot more time to get the entire end of day routine done and they got time to play afterwards as a result.

Shortening the End of Day

As the school year progressed, I trained students to be the folder checkers as a classroom job and they ‘took over’ that for me. Of course, I still kept an eye on the process {wink}

They eventually had less time to play as I shortened the entire going home process, which encouraged many to get in gear when getting ready to go home – they wanted to earn the incentive.

How to Manage an End of Day Routine in Kindergarten - prepping folders

There was a year or two that we had a different schedule that didn’t allow for any play after getting ready to go home. It worked out that they’d simply get in line ready to go home with all their gear. I’d get to visit with kids in line and it was nice way to end our day.

I’d use an alarm on my phone to signal us when it’s time to clean up and go home.

See a quick run down of a day in my life as a teacher. Get a little insight into how the rest of our days flows into this end of day routine.

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

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How to Manage an End of Day Routine in Kindergarten - steps in photos

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  1. Hi there Leslie,

    I have a question about the colour cards that you/the children use in the behaviour management plan. Does each child have their own cards? Where do they keep them?

    1. Hi Charlotte,
      Each child does not actually have physical cards any longer. We did keep them in a pocket chart once upon a time on the wall. When I did away with the physical cards, but kept the colors to coincide with number of think cards earned (red here: they kept those inside of their cubbie in a library-style pocket I stuck on the side wall.

      1. Hi Leslie,

        Thanks so much for getting back to me and also thanks for the link.
        So, instead of turning their card to yellow, orange or red, do you give the child a think card instead, Basically, 1 think card = yellow, 2 cards = orange, and 3 cards = red?

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