As any working parent will be well aware, handling family life whilst holding down a demanding job can be difficult. This is particularly true for teachers, who often find that devotion to their role as educators can get in the way of finding a suitable work-life balance.
Fortunately, there are a number of techniques that working parents can use to balance their responsibilities and also find a little time for themselves. Remember that you deserve a break every now and then. In fact, adequate rest and relaxation will help you to perform your teaching and parenting responsibilities to the best of your ability.
Here are a few of our tips for attaining a perfect work-life balance:
Avoid accepting too much responsibility at work
Always remember to consider your children’s needs before taking on extra responsibilities at work. Whilst teachers are often keen to do anything they can to help their pupils, this should not be to the detriment of their own families and personal lives.
If you feel pressured to take on more work, try talking to your manager about your workload. If they fully understand your situation, they will be more likely to understand how much work you can realistically be expected to take on.
Set a schedule for your kids
Setting your kids a schedule will make timetabling much easier. For example, scheduling dinner for the same time every day will make it much easier for you to decide whether you can squeeze in an activity at the end of the day. It will also give your kids a sense of stability and will demonstrate to them that they are high on your priorities list.
Your schedule, of course, should also include a stable bedtime routine, wake-up time and extracurricular activities such as dance classes or music lessons. If you struggle to keep track of your kids’ activities, try noting them down on a family whiteboard.
Opt for high-quality daycare centers or schools
Sending your child to a high-quality school or daycare center will give you peace of mind that they are being well look-after during the day. By extension, you are likely to focus better on your job and be more productive.
Instead of opting for the most cost-effective or closest facility, do some careful research into the caliber of schools and daycare centers in your area. Try reading reviews or talking to neighbors about their choices before settling on a decision. If you need a little help on what to look out for in a good school, check out this helpful article.
Think carefully about clashes in your schedules
It is often the case that there is a gap between schools closing and the time that a parent finishes their working day. To deal with this schedule clash, you need to come up with a solid plan. If your child is old enough, you may be comfortable allowing them to look after themselves for a couple of hours. If they are too young, however, you will need to look for an after-school facility or make arrangements with family members or friends.
Prepare for mornings in the evening
Don’t leave decisions such as what to dress your children in or what to pack them for lunch until the morning. You don’t want to start the day off on a stressful note.
Instead, iron and set out their clothes, pack their lunches, and even set out breakfast the night before.
Remember to prioritize certain work tasks
Try to complete urgent tasks related to your job as and when they arise. Other tasks can be logged in a reminder chart. For example, if you need to create a presentation or handouts for your next working day, try to get them done as soon as possible (preferably before dinner time comes around). This will help you to feel in control of your working life and allow you to feel relaxed whilst spending time with your family.
Always have a back-up plan
It is virtually inevitable that your schedule will go off-kilter at some point. If your kid’s school or daycare facility has to close early, for example, then you need to have a plan in place. For example, you could keep a list of potential babysitters that will be available as and when the need arises. Alternatively, you may have a strong support network in place that can help you out in emergencies.
Remember that your family and friends care about the well-being of you and your child, and many of them will be willing to help you out when the going gets tough.
Remember to do fun activities with your kids
Whilst spending dinner times with your kids and putting them to bed every day is a great way to make them feel loved, it is also important to do special bonding activities every so often. Try doing something fun and off-schedule every week or so such as going to the movies, taking them out shopping or trying out a new type of sport. The possibilities are almost endless.
Try not to worry if you don’t manage to complete all tasks on your list
Remember that you’re only human and that completing the entirety of your to-do list may simply not be possible (even during summer holidays!). Accepting the fact that less urgent tasks may not get done is a fantastic way to alleviate stress will help you to focus your energies on being the best parent and teacher that you can be.