If your child starting school isn’t daunting enough, the thought of trying to balance this exciting time with work might seem even trickier. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help you successfully juggle being a working parent with the school run.
- Make use of school care – It’s likely that your school will offer a breakfast club and an after-school club, so do make use of them. Staff will have experience when it comes to dealing with younger children who are tired after a long day at school and often the ethos will be relaxed with a focus on play and the chance to sit quietly and rest if children need it. They’ll also give your child some much-needed food (although you’ll probably be able to send a piece of your child’s favourite fruit or a snack to keep them going too).
- Keep in contact – Being a working parent can limit the opportunities there are for a quick ‘how are they getting on?’ conversation with your child’s teacher. If you can, perhaps try to plan a time you can pick up your child and catch the teacher every few weeks. Don’t worry though, if there are any problems the teacher will contact you.
- Be organised – To avoid a rush in the morning, you’ll need to be super-organised, laying out clothes and sorting out snacks and drinks the night before. You might also want to enforce some rules such as ‘no playing or TV until everyone’s dressed’, to give you a fighting chance of getting out of the house on time.
- Go online – Being busy with work means you might feel you’re missing out on chatting with other parents in the playground. Lots of groups of parents set up class online groups to keep in contact. This means you won’t miss out on all of the conversations about lost cardigans! Meet up – if meeting up with your child’s new friends is tricky after school, often weekend mornings are a perfect time. You’ll find other parents are awake just as early as you are and are looking for something to do to keep their children occupied! As your child gets older, they’ll be able to go and play at friend’s houses and then be collected by you later.
- Give it time – The process of starting school can last for a while with some half-days or early pick-ups as children build up to full-time school. Telling work about this beforehand and sharing the timescale (‘The next fortnight is my child’s settling period at school’) means you can concentrate on your child starting school without you or people at work having to worry that things will be unsettled in the long run. It might be a bit of a muddle at first, but it will soon settle down to a steady routine.
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