Routines are a powerful organisation tool for home life and have been known to help in times of stress or change. Whether your eldest child is starting school for the first time or you are sending your youngest off to high school the house will run most efficiently if you consider a few important time management techniques and do some forward thinking and planning.
Before and after school care arrangements
Have you considered before and after school care arrangements especially for younger children? Most families I work with have two working parents sometimes both full time but sometimes one or both parents has some flexibility or works part time.
Rosters for shift work can be the most complicated to coordinate and there be a mixed solution to childcare arrangements.
If you are lucky enough to have extended family support it can be a great opportunity for kids to spend a few hours with grandparents or aunts and uncles.
Many schools in Canberra offer after school care programs and some even offer before school care. These programs are usually registered care rpoviders allowing receipt of the child care benefit (CCB) and child care rebate (CCR).
An au pair or family day carer may be a more personal solution. Au pairs can be live-in or live-out and family day carers may operate in their own home or work in yours. Be sure to check references and qualifications carefully and do some research to make sure the decision is right for you and your children.
After school routine
If you do have care arrangements everyday and can't be at home, it is worth planning and discussing after school routines, especially homework. Perhaps you schedule homework time while dinner is prepared or you ask your child's carer to provide assistance.
With children who are old enough to get to and from school on their own, consider setting ground rules and developing a timetable or a checklist. Make sure they have keys in a safe place and a way to contact you or someone else in an emergency. Will they prepare their own afternoon tea or should they wait for someone to be home. Consider packaging and labelling afternoon tea servings and keep them ready-to-go in the pantry or fridge.
To keep yourself sane consider revising your household routines. Consider meal planning and scheduling and assigning cleaning and maintenance. Online grocery shopping is a great way to save time and you might also save money by avoiding the impulse items.
Even young children can help with smaller household tasks and may enjoy the sense of achievement and independence. Just don't try to attain perfection - during the week when everyone is time-poor just aim to have breakfast dishes cleaned and beds made in the morning and school bags repacked and dinner dishes cleared before bed.