When you are a parent, you have a lot of different things to juggle, and one of the most important things you’ll need to deal with is childcare. Whether your kids go to nursery, afterschool clubs, or a combination of settings, it can be hard to juggle work, your schedule and theirs. Here’s how you can get organised and keep track of what’s going on.
- Plan things well in advance
The school holidays are generally around the same time each year, so there’s no excuse for not knowing that a break is about to come up. If you are planning to send your children to a holiday club, it’s important to book in advance, as spaces can fill up quickly.
If you need relatives to do odd days of childcare, then don’t wait until the last minute to ask for these favours. Other people will need to sort out their schedules too.
- Have back up plans
Childcare can often get derailed if your child gets ill or their nursery closes for the day, so have some back up options on plan such as:
- A nanny – find a local nanny agency and register with them. That way, if you need someone at the last minute, they can send out childcare for the day
- Local babysitters – consider starting a babysitting circle with other parents, or find some trusted older teenagers who are happy to earn some extra cash
- Childminders – while childminders usually work on long term contracts, they can sometimes help you with emergency childcare if they have a vacancy that day. Don’t be afraid to call around and find out
- Plan the week ahead
Draw up a plan for the week ahead so you can see who needs to be where on each day. Use one of MiGoals’ awesome weekly planners and you can keep track of which days they are in afterschool clubs, when they’ll be with relatives and when you need to fill in any childcare gaps. This will help when you have a busy schedule yourself and need to get organised.
- See if your employer offers flexibility
Whether it’s a day a week working from home, early starts or a couple of early finishes a week, most employers will have some sort of flexibility for employees with children. If you can get flexible working, you can often cut down your childcare bills a little bit too.
- Try to keep things consistent
Kids like to be in a routine, so if possible, try to keep the weekly schedule as consistent as possible. This can be difficult if you’re a shift worker, but it means your children will settle into their childcare settings a lot easier and you won’t have as many tears or refusals every morning.
Juggling work and childcare is one of the toughest parts of being a parent, so it’s important to get organised, think outside the box, and ideally, pick jobs that’ll offer some flexibility around hours, so the process of finding childcare is easier.