By Holly Reisem Hanna
I can hardly believe my baby (okay, she’s five) is starting kindergarten this year. While this is going to give me a lot more time to work and focus on my business, it also means that there are going to be some significant schedule changes and adjustments that need to be made.
Earlier wake times, commutes to and from school, packing lunch, and scheduling extracurricular activities around new school hours, are just a few of the thing that we’ll be contending with.
So to ensure that we start the school year off on the right foot, I’ve been planning and organizing both my business and personal life.
Here are six tips to help work at home moms navigate this transition easily.
Get Your Ducks in a Row:
Even if your child is returning to the same school, there is usually necessary paperwork and registration forms that need to be completed. Take time before school starts to make sure you have all these required forms and accounts completed and setup. Some areas to consider are, after-school care, returning or new student forms, health forms, registrations for extracurricular activities, transportation forms, PTA or PTO forms, and reloading your lunch account with money.
At our school, we can purchase school supplies online, if you're able to to do this — take advantage of it. It will save you the hassle of running all over town to find the school supplies that you need. If your school doesn't offer this service, or you prefer to grab them yourself, make sure you have the supply list printed out and purchase these items before school starts. If you wait, you will find that stores are sold out of popular items and you'll have to search harder and longer to find what you need. The first week of school is stressful enough, make it easier by getting these tasks out of the way.
Out with the Old, In with the New:
The other day my five-year-old was complaining that her pants were too tight, and while the length seemed fine (Capri length) when I looked at the tag, I was shocked to find that she was wearing pants that were a size 2T. This is when I knew it was time to go through everything: shoes, socks, panties, pants, pajamas, dresses, and shirts. It took a few hours, but I was totally able to free up new closet and drawer space, making it easier to find things.
Once I finished with my daughter’s wardrobe, I decided it was time to tackle my closet too. Any item that I hadn’t worn in a year, I tried on to see if it still fit – and low and behold many things were too tight. Again I was able to clear out a good amount of space. This also gave me a chance to take a full inventory of what we had enough of and what items need to be replaced and restocked.
Need some ideas for your wardrobe? Check out these must-have pieces for the work at home mom’s closet:
If your child is anything like mine, deciding what to wear can really be a challenge. So to make your morning routine less of a struggle, plan your week far in advance. Start by pre-planning outfits on Sunday evening (this means having clothes washed and ready to go by Sunday). If you’re lucky enough to have enough drawer space, you can stack outfits on top of each other with a cardboard separator between each outfit. Another great way to store your daily outfits is to purchase some of these closet dividers and have one outfit for each day of the week hanging and ready.
Now that you have what to wear out of the way – you have breakfast to contend with. My daughter is an extremely slow eater, and to allow her to sleep in as late as possible, I’m planning on making breakfast on the go. For myself, I will be programming the coffee maker the night before, so that I can wake up to freshly brewed coffee.
Here are some make-ahead recipes, that are perfect for eating in the car or on the bus.
- Bacon, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Cups
- Oatmeal on the Go
- On the Go Pancake Bites
- Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit Muffins
Don’t forget about lunch. I highly suggest making this the night before, so that you can just throw all of the items in their lunch box in the morning. Of course, add a new lunch box and thermos to your back to school list.
Here are some healthy and fun lunch ideas.
Integrate Your Schedule:
Whether you're used to working around your child's naptime, day-care provider, or nanny, when your child starts school, you'll have to come up with an entirely new plan. Depending on your work situation, you may need to apply for after-school care or rearrange your work hours. I suggest adding all of the days that your child has off of school to your business calendar. This will allow you to plan ahead for what days you can schedule meetings and important calls, and when you may need to take the day off. By knowing your child's schedule in advance, it will save you the headache of rearranging your schedule at the last minute. It's also a good time to look at alternative care options if you know that your work schedule isn't flexible.
If you're dealing with a new kindergartner, like me, you have no idea how the first day will play out. To be fully prepared, give yourself a couple of test run days. By doing this, you'll know exactly how long it takes you to get out of the house, how long it takes you to walk to the bus stop, or how long it takes you to drive to school. Don't forget to do a trial run of the new night time routine too – you may be surprised at how early your child needs to go to bed so that they are refreshed and ready to go in the early morning hours.
Reestablish Your Goals:
Fall is the perfect time to renew your goals, both personal and professional. Since you'll have more hours to work and focus on your business, your past goals should be looked at and revised. It's also a great time to further your growth and development, by attending networking events and conferences, reading a new business book or attending a mastermind group or webinar. Reestablishing your personal goals is important too – because when you feel good, you are more focused and productive in your work.
What tips do you have for making the back to school transition easy? As a work at home mom, do you find it harder to manage your schedule in the summer or school year?