Back to school - 5 top tips for busy parents
As busy parents who have juggled work and child care over the summer holidays, you can now breathe a sigh of relief as your children return to school. This is a great opportunity to create new routines and schedules to ensure your home life runs as smoothly as possible. Here are 5 top tips to increase efficiency to make your life much easier and also look after your wellbeing too:
1 FAMILY CALENDAR
Create a family calendar that both you and your partner can access, e.g. Google calendar, or use a suitable calendar app on your mobile. Alternatively, have a wall calendar on your kitchen wall for the whole family to use. Ensure essential dates from the school annual calendar are inputted into your family calendar. Include reminders for things you need to take action on for school activities. Plan the week ahead on a Sunday evening with your family so that you are all clear what is happening to avoid any chaotic moments. Also ensure you have any equipment, special clothing etc prepared for the week ahead.
2 GET ORGANISED
Get the whole family involved with household chores and keeping the house tidy. Lay out uniforms the night before. Pack school bags, books and anything required for activities, and place by the front door ready to go in the morning.
3 PLAN YOUR MEALS
Plan your meals for the week ahead to avoid the stress of knowing what to cook after a busy day at work, especially if you have had to work late. At weekends, batch cook and then freeze meals for the week ahead. Double up on the amount of food that you cook and freeze for a later date. Or invest in a slow cooker, get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning to prep food, and then leave to cook during the day.
4 INTERTWINING WORK AND HOME LIFE
Keep the main living space as a work free zone. If you do bring your laptop home, work from another area of the house if you don’t have a home office. Have a time in your head when you cut off from work and start your personal time in the evening. Change out of work clothes into something more comfortable when you get home and get out of work mode.
Say no to last minute commitments and limit work events to two evenings per week.
If you are having a busy period at work, consult with your family at home and agree & plan to do something with them when the busy period is over. Set a date and then commit to it.
5 LOOK AFTER YOUR WELLBEING
You have to preserve and enhance the greatest asset you have – YOU! This means having a balanced self-care routine in all of areas so that you are physically and mentally able to handle all of the demands and challenges of being a parent in a busy job, plus keeping your energy levels high. Therefore, ensure you have a healthy balanced diet, exercise and get a good night’s sleep. Look after your mental wellbeing by finding at least 15 minutes every day to do something for you to relax e.g. meditate, reflect, journal, read, soak in bath, potter in the garden.