Head still spinning from a whirlwind end of the summer season? Back to school time can be both a relief and a rush for parents. And when you are trying your hardest to balance a packed work schedule with all the preparation and legwork needed to set your kids up for success in a new school year, balance can seem out of reach.
You are hardly alone in the scramble. Parents across the country are dealing with just this issue. Here are several things you can do (starting now) that will help you keep your head on straight this September.
Update Your Schedule
The end of summer calls for a change in schedule for both parents and school kids. But that’s actually a really good thing, and adjusting to a consistent and steady schedule will help you maintain balance long term. Take note of all the activities kicking off with the start of the school year, from after-school sports programs to blocking off time for helping with homework in the evenings. Adding those must-do extracurricular activities to your work calendar can really help you set boundaries and make sure you are fully present when your kid is counting on you to be there (both physically and mentally). There’s nothing worse than needing to work late when you should be out on the field, cheering your kid on to victory.
Adjust Your Work Hours
Back to school may also mean you need to be on point to help with pick-up or drop-off as a parent of school-aged kiddos. If you work for a company that allows flexible start times, this is a great time to adjust your schedule to make sure you’re available. Adjusting your commute time can be really helpful to get you to or from work in a timely fashion. Depending on your employer’s flexibility, coming in to work early so you can leave early to make pick-up in the afternoon can also help you skip out on the bulk of traffic congestion. Less time in the car means less time wasted on your commute. And that means more time spent with your kids or being productive in the office.
Find Help When and Where You Need It
Recognizing when and where you need help can be the most important aspect of maintaining a balanced work and personal life. For families with two working parents, help is all but mandatory. Hiring an after-school babysitter or nanny is a great way to have someone on hand to make sure your kids are taken care of after school while you are still at work. Family or neighbors with kids the same age is another great resource, especially for those who don’t have the financing to hire help. Many schools also offer after care or before care, which is convenient and also great at giving your kids a chance to spend more time with their friends and teachers in a learning environment.