How to best manage school hours with work
With many of us still getting used to new ways of working, either from home, back in the office or a hybrid of both, we are also having to also adjust to fit in with school routines as well.
During Covid last year, many of us got used to being more available for school drop off’s and pickups and we also saw an increase in dads at school gates too. But with many organisations now encouraging people back into the office, these routines and how we manage the juggle of school around work becomes challenging once more.
For each of us this will be different based on the relationship and degree of flexibility we have with our employer, our partners situation (if we have one), the availability and convenience of government transport options, or whether or not we have family or friends to support us. Essentially, no one experience is the same and so it will very much depend on the resources we have available to us.
There is also the element of change. Be it a new role, change to an existing role, a new location etc, when such changes occur there are often adjustments to our work/school rhythm that need to be made.
With all this in mind, it's important that we stay ahead of the game so we don't end up feeling stressed or overwhelmed about how we are going to make it work.
Here are some of the things we've found supportive:
1. Be prepared to think outside the box - be flexible and explore all your options rather than pinning your hopes on one solution - basically, have a back up plan!
2. Consider after school care as an option if it is available in your area. After school care can be a great support network, however these days it's often as popular as day care centres and so you will need to book in advance, or perhaps sit on a wait list until a space opens.
3. Establish an open relationship with your employer around your school/childcare needs. You may be able to negotiate finishing work early one or two days a week so you can share the pick up and drop off with others (such as partners or family members). There are many parents who have negotiated shorter working days or work from home to help manage school and work hours effectively.
4. As we always say, it takes a village to raise a child - If reading this article you realise you are trying to do it on your own then know it is never too late to ask for help - check in with your immediate family or set up a shared arrangement with other parents who live close by or whose children go to the same school.
5. If it's in your budget, look into employing a carer or babysitter to do the drop off and/or after school care – this can also support with dinner preparation and homework so that when you arrive home you aren't walking into chaos and having to jump on the kids to get organised.
6. Above all, make sure that whatever you put in place supports yourself, your partner and your children. No one in the family should ever have to feel any anxiety around what is organised and if they are then you need to sit down and rethink it. Everyone in the situation deserves to feel supported at all times.