The transition from summer break to school days is exciting for young children. They can’t wait to get back to school and see their friends, meet their new teacher and kick off the school year. However, going back to school can be slightly stressful for working parents with homework becoming a nightly activity, packed lunches to organize, and lazy weekends turning into action-packed sports and activities days. Make balancing work and family easier with the following tips and tricks.
1.) Get into a routine quickly
Children flourish in a structured environment. No matter how busy some days get, if there’s a routine in the family, everyone knows where they should be or what they should be doing. For example, if children have a set homework process, they know it’s important to complete their homework before dinner every night. This alleviates any last-minute scramble to finish homework before school the next day as children know what needs to occur. Have a set dinnertime nightly. This doesn’t need to be super-strict but could be, for example, that the family sits down together every weeknight sometime between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. After dinner might be family time, then have the children prepare their backpacks before they get ready for bed. This will also make the mornings less hectic. Having a set routine, especially on weekdays, helps reduce the amount of stress that can sometimes come with getting everyone ready in the morning.
2.) Foster a work-life balance
The phrase “work-life balance” generally suggests an equal split between work and family life. This balancing act can often be harder than first thought. It’s important to have realistic expectations when trying to achieve this balance. It’s also best not to compare one family to another, as every family situation is unique. Of course, there will be times when parents will need to leave work early to attend school or sporting events. Conversely, there will be times where the demands of work must be met late at night or during weekends. Balancing both work and family commitments requires a degree of flexibility and compromise. To ensure quality time is spent with the family, set a day of the week where the family spends time together, whether it’s a meal out together or a night talking and playing board and card games everyone in the family will cherish the time spent together.
3.) Back-to-school organization tips
With working parents and children back at school, things can get a little out of hand. However, with new organizational tips and tricks, it’s possible to reduce the stress and have a smooth running household. Consider the following:
- Once school starts, it’s likely that schoolwork, stationery, and folders will begin to scatter around the house. Create a workstation for children to do their homework. This will encourage them to keep all their books and school supplies in one space without it creeping into the rest of the house.
- Prepare snacks in advance. Create a snack station in your refrigerator. Grapes, carrot sticks, celery, and similar fruits and vegetables make great go-to snacks. Prepare and portion these into resealable plastic bags or lunch containers for both parents and children to snack on after work or school. Add cheese sticks, individual yogurt containers, and deli meats, and it makes lunch bag preparation very easy as well. Keep cookies, granola bars, and juice boxes in the pantry and a big bowl of fruit on the counter so there are always snacks at hand.
- Beat the morning dressing dilemma by organizing a week’s worth of outfits ahead of time. Create shelves or hangers for each day of the week with preselected outfits. This saves time choosing outfits every day or searching for socks or clothing in drawers or laundry hampers.
Armed with these useful tips, making the changeover from summer break to back to school makes it possible for working parents to feel less stress. With a little planning and organization, families can welcome the start of the school term happily.