It’s almost that time of year...back-to-school time!
Depending on the personality of your children, this season may solicit feelings of joy or dread. The same goes for parents. Some of you may be elated your children will have structured time outside of the home again, or you may be dreading the shopping, to-do lists, and hussle of the fast-paced schedule that comes with one or more children in classes and extracurriculars. All of that on top of a busy work life can make for a stressful balancing act leading to burnout for you. Unfortunately, work doesn’t stop or slow down just because your personal life gets hectic!
If you are anxious about this time of year, take a deep breath, slow down, and do some pre-planning. It will make a world of difference as you approach the inevitable back-to-school rush.
It’s important to have a game plan to keep a healthy balance between work and the back-to-school rush. Below is a step-by-step list that you can use to make that happen. While you can go through these instructions by yourself, including your family in the plan will not only lessen the burden on you, but will promote healthy communication and teamwork in your home.
Step-by-Step Game Plan to Balance Back-To-School & Work
Make a list of everything you need to do for your children to get them ready for back-to-school and the first few weeks after school has started.
Make a list of everything you will have going on at work during the same time frame. Ask your partner to do the same.
Merge the lists together and highlight any schedule conflicts and the items that will be extra stressful.
Brainstorm solutions with your partner to resolve the schedule conflicts.
Brainstorm ideas with your partner to lessen the stress of the “big deal” items on the list.
Decide on a game plan to tackle these issues and the entire back-to-school season.
Set expectations before school starts. If you need everyone to be done with back-to-school shopping before your big project is due at work to eliminate stressful last-minute Target runs, then make it clear now. You may also consider limiting the amount of activities each child may sign up for during the school year to keep the schedule manageable. At work, perhaps you may need to leave early a few days. Whatever you decide, communicate it sooner than later.
Set roles and responsibilities for each family member so you aren’t stuck doing everything yourself. For example, if you know you need to be at work by 8 am, make sure your kids know they need to pack their own lunches in the mornings - or even better, the night before!
Do the same with your teammates at work. If you could use some help with a specific area of a project to minimize your stress level during this time, ask for assistance.
Make a family schedule that is accessible to everyone in your home. It will help family expectations and communication to know where everyone is and when and where they need to be. You should also ensure your work calendar is updated appropriately.
Now that you have a clear game plan, communicate it to everyone in the family and at work. Your plan is no good if no one else knows what’s going on.
Do you have any other tips for families to balance work and the back-to-school season? Leave a comment below!