This year, on top of the usual life stressors, going back to school seems to be extra-charged with parental fears: cyber-bullying, school social life, finding child care, academics and generally keeping our kids safe and happy. If you have a new caregiver starting in the fall, it can feel like just more work to get her up-to-speed. Instead of scrambling to get everything done by the first day of school deadline, spend about 15 minutes each on these 5 Back-to-School Basics:
#1. Do Your Homework
It’s worth doing a little work now to ensure both you and your caregiver feel comfortable throughout the school year. Create or update the Emergency Child Care Checklists that live in your home. Walk through the list with your caregiver and make sure he is confident in following your instructions. Just to start, provide your nanny or caregiver with a written description of the daily routine. Include meal times, activities, and errands. Ask your caregiver to take notes while you’re away or use a Child Care Checklist to track the events of the day.
#2. Tackle Their Homework – With the Nanny
When’s the last time you used the quadratic equation? Calculated the diameter of a circle? If your child is facing math that you haven’t touched in years, it’s possible that your nanny may more easily recall that pi equals 3.14. Either way, talk about helping with homework and set expectations. If you are still looking for a caregiver for your school-age kids, take the helping with homework factor into the hiring equation – don’t hesitate to ask about it in the interview. For truly tough homework struggles, a tutor might be the best solution.
#3. Be Strategic
Get organized, and create a couple of systems that will guide you through any future frantic moments. Don’t build complicated schemes that are overly demanding. If you know laundry just isn’t going to get done every night, plan outfits on the weekends for you and the little ones. Freeze a few homemade meals now for those future nights when a healthy dinner just isn’t going to make itself. Check out our Back to School Cheat Sheet for tips on ultra-organization. And if your world seems to be spiraling out of control, read these Secrets of an Organized Person.
#4. Be Safe
If you have any specific concerns about your child, social life at school, cyber bullying or anything, talk to your caregiver. Share your concerns. Talk about things to watch out for and behavior to monitor. Don’t forget to take our Bullying Survey.
#5. Lay Down the Ground Rules
Be clear about TV/screen time vs. homework time. And if your child disobeys? Talk to your nanny about discipline and how you handle these difficult situations in your home. Make sure everyone knows what the consequences are for bad behavior, and check out our Discipline Survey.
Have you talked to your caregiver or nanny about discipline or bullying concerns? How about homework? Does she help with your child’s homework?