Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tips for Parents Returning to Work

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It’s the moment of truth. You are getting ready to go back to work. Maybe your maternity/paternity leave has come to an end, you took time off from your career to be a stay-at-home parent or maybe you are a teacher and have been home with your child for the summer. In these economic times, you may have even been home due to unexpected circumstances. No matter the reason, juggling parenthood while reentering the workforce can be quite the challenge – just getting out the door in the morning can be a logistical nightmare! Here are some survival tips for the savvy parent, courtesy of The Goddard School.

Before You Go Back

A week before you go back to work, wake up at the new time and practice getting everybody ready. Do you need to get yourself ready before the rest of your household wakes? How long do you need? What can your children do while you are getting yourself ready? Will they play in a pack-n-play, feed themselves cereal, take care of their own potty needs or have cuddle time with your spouse? Make it a team effort and brainstorm with your spouse. Get specific about who will pack lunches, feed the children, pour the milk, give the vitamins, etc. Decide whether you will take turns or divvy up the responsibilities. Make sure you each have time to take care of your own needs, too. Hashing all of this out upfront and writing up a schedule will help you to figure out realistically how long it actually takes to get everybody ready in the morning, and then work your timeline backwards from when you’re due at work. Changing diapers, potty time, breakfast, getting dressed and tooth brushing may take a lot longer than you think! And be sure to leave plenty of extra time for traffic or the occasional extra-long good-bye with your child.

Start the Night Before

Pack up everything you and your child need for the next day before you go to bed: diaper bag, lunches, laptop bag, permission slips and bottles. Have the coffeemaker set to have that much needed java brewed and ready. If you weren’t a list maker before you had children, there is no better time than now to start! Jot down even the smallest of details and necessities that need to be packed or prepared. Sticky notes are a working parent’s best friend. Put a small bin in the fridge for each member of your family who packs breakfast, lunch or bottles and label with names.  Fill each bin with all lunch box items so in the morning you can just transfer the contents of each into a thermal bag with ice packs, etc. If something can’t be pre-packed, jot down a note and stick it in the bin so you know at a glance what is missing in the morning mayhem. Choose outfits the night before—if you are super savvy, you might even check the weather and select your children’s outfits for the whole week!

Back to the Grind

You may be shocked at how busy you will be when you go back to work. Plan time before or after work to spend with your children so you don’t feel like you are missing the details. Ease up on the idea of keeping the house clean 24/7. Your children won’t remember if the house was always sparkling clean or not, but they will remember the quality of the time they spent with you. Maximize your lunch breaks: go on a quick walk to boost your energy levels and be sure to pack healthful snacks. You may find it energizing to be back at work—you may be filled with new ideas, and be excited to spend your day with grown-ups! Don’t feel bad about leaving the office as soon as your workday officially ends--parenthood has taught you to be decidedly efficient, and to get more accomplished in less time. And, be sure to get as much sleep as possible--no matter how prepared and organized you are, going back to work and still maintaining a productive household can be exhausting!

You Deserve a Reward!

After all of the planning, organizing and hard work it takes to go back to the grind while also creating a happy and healthy work-life balance, treat yourself! Plan that rewarding lunchtime mani/pedi, a happy hour with your BFF or schedule some Saturday morning cuddle time with the little ones. You deserve it, and it will help reenergize you so you can do it all again next week.

About The Goddard School

At The Goddard School, children from six weeks to six years are encouraged to develop at their own pace in a nurturing environment supported by a team of dedicated teachers. With 380+ Goddard Schools in 35 states, the FLEX™ Learning Program, the foundation of The Goddard School’s AdvancED and Middle States accredited programs for exceptional early childhood education, reaches more than 45,000 students. The program enhances children's emotional, social, intellectual and physical development and provides the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. The Goddard School’s comprehensive play-based curriculum, developed with early childhood education experts, provides the optimal environment for each child's early educational development. To learn more about The Goddard School, please visit www.goddardschool.com.

About The Goddard School, Inc.

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI) was recently named the #1 Childcare Franchise in the United States by Entrepreneur magazine for the eleventh consecutive year (January 2012) and one of the Top 200 Franchise Systems (in worldwide sales) by Franchise Times for the fifth consecutive year (October 2011). Headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, GSI is expanding The Goddard School network throughout the United States. GSI currently licenses 380+ franchised schools with more than 45,000 students in 35 states. With a successful system in place and dedicated franchisees, GSI is the acknowledged leader in franchised childcare and a premier educational childcare provider.

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