Set a schedule for the kids. You’ll find that caring for your children will be a whole lot easier if you get them on a schedule. Have a set dinner time where you all eat together and discuss your day. Make bedtime routine for them and make sure they’re in bed at the same time each night.
Include extracurriculars like soccer and dance class in this schedule, as well.
You might consider putting up a whiteboard in your house with this schedule so both you and the kids remember.
Select quality daycares and schools. You’ll be a lot more productive at work if you don’t have to fret over how well your kids are cared for. Research daycares and schools in the area, read reviews, talk to friends about their choices and select the ones that are best for your family. Meet with their teachers and get their cell numbers in case you need to call.
Bridge the gap between school closing and the time you get off work. If school lets out at 3PM, but you don’t get off work until 5PM, you’ll need a plan for this gap. Enroll your kids in an after school care program or see if they can ride home with a friend.
If they are over age 12 and you feel comfortable, let them go home alone each day. Go over safety procedures with them like locking the door and not opening up for strangers.
You can also see if a relative can pick them up and keep them while you work.
Use your family and friends as support. Remember that it takes a village to raise a child. Allow your family and friends to help you raise your kids so they can help take some of the burden off you. Put them on the school or daycare's pick-up list and add them as additional emergency contacts.
Should a friend want to pick them up one day to take them for ice cream, let them! Or perhaps your parents want to keep them on the weekends occasionally; go for it!
Make mornings easy by making preparations the night before. Rather than waking up each morning in chaos trying to figure out what to dress them in or make them for lunch, do this the night before. Pack their lunches, set out and iron clothes, and make a quick breakfast.
Give them breakfast like cereal or bagels and fruit.
Buy clothes that are wrinkle-free so you have to iron less often.
Ask your kids to help you with these preparations. Even if they’re pretty little, your kids can help you with simple tasks like picking out their outfit for the next day or bringing you ingredients for their lunch.
Set up a backup care plan. If your child’s daycare or school should close unexpectedly for the day, have a plan in place. Have a few emergency babysitters on call who you can use when you can't take off work. You can also use websites like Care.com or Sittercity.
If your friends have responsible teenage kids, see if they would like to babysit for you occasionally.
Get to know the parents of your kids’ friends. Other parents can be a great addition to your support network. Reach out to the parents of your children’s friends and try to build a comfortable rapport with them. They may be able to help you if an unexpected issue arises and you need someone to watch your child for a little while.
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