It’s almost that time of year again, and whether you have older children or little ones just starting out, September can be an exciting and nerve-wracking time for both parents and kids! Despite the big build-up to the September send-off, the school year is a long ten months that requires continued parental management and involvement.
As a working mum, you might find yourself overwhelmed with the responsibility of overseeing your own career and obligations as well as those of your kids. Planning lunches, meeting teachers, and chauffeuring your kids to ballet practise and piano lessons can leave you feeling as though you’re balancing on a tightrope in a three-ring circus!
In the meantime, with some careful preparation, you and your kids can look forward to a happy school experience year-round! Follow the helpful pointers below to make your year a success.
Keep Contact with the Classroom
Maintaining a relationship with your son or daughter’s school can help you keep you abreast of all developments that affect your child’s education. If possible, meet the teacher a week or two in advance especially if your child is young as introducing them to their new classroom ahead of time can help ease any fears or anxieties they might have. If the school has a curriculum or calendar available, take one and keep it handy to follow along with your child’s progress.
Keep track of any questions or concerns and address them at Parent-Teacher interview nights, but ask your teacher to contact you earlier should any significant problems arise. Finally, plan on attending PTA meetings regularly, and if time allows, volunteer to help with school fundraisers or bake sales. Getting acquainted with the other parents and kids lets you know who your child is socialising with while allowing you to make new contacts and friends on the side!
Bring the Classroom Home
The key to a successful school year is organisation and communication. Involving your children in planning and decision-making validates their opinions and gives them a sense of control over their educational experience.
Before school begins, get them to help you set up a homework-station where they’ll feel comfortable studying. Stock the area with supplies and storage tools to keep school work and clutter filed and ordered. Create a large wall calendar for parents and kids to keep track of holidays, tests, and extra-curricular activities. Each Sunday, gather everyone together to review the upcoming week’s schedule and make planning a fun family affair!
Have a Plan of Action
We all know that we can’t plan for everything. Your after-school baby-sitter might cancel last minute if she’s stuck in bed with a sudden bout of the flu, or your latch-key child might forget his key on the bus ride home. It’s important for you and your kids to discuss potential emergencies and have a plan of action at the ready. Keep the lines of communication open and periodically check in with your kids to see if they’ve got concerns.
As busy working mums, we might still find ourselves apprehensive about the school routine, worrying that homework might go unfinished or that Susie’s not getting enough one-on-one time with her teacher. Add that to your Monday morning deadline and Wednesday’s marketing presentation, and you’ve got a lot on your hands and mind! It’s a great idea to think about your contingency plans for balancing work with kids at school NOW rather than when the inevitable happens!