It’s back to school time! If you are raising a child, they have either started school or will be returning to school very soon. With the start of the school year comes excitement, anxiety, new clothes, new school supplies, the outlay of a lot of money, and a busier schedule.
If you’re also a family caregiver, you may be wondering how you will juggle everything. You might be an experienced family caregiver who has been doing this for a couple of years, or you might have only recently transitioned into a caregiving role. Whatever your experience as a sandwiched family caregiver, these tips may help you.
Your calendar is your new BFF. You need to have a calendar system that works for you. If you won’t use something it won’t work. I recommend you use a calendar that goes through June 2014 at least, so the entire school year will be in one place. The calendars I use will take me through December 2014. I prefer both a wall calendar and a datebook calendar. Others use a calendar on the phone, tablet, or computer. Whatever you use, as soon as the calendar comes home from school, invest an hour or so and write all the important information on the calendar. This includes Back-To-School night, Open House, performances or sports events, and times when you know your child will be at school late or has to return to school for a rehearsal or a sports practice. Make sure to include those important days when they have a day off from school, get out of school early, or start school late.
Plan ahead for crazy days. Now that you can see the future, for about the next nine months, you may see some days that look insane! Can you juggle anything on that day and move it to another day or time? If not, you can plan ahead to make that day go smoothly by preparing in advance for dinner that day. You can make and freeze a meal to heat that day, plan to make use of your crock-pot, or have supplies on hand for a quick meal such as Corn Chowder. It’s okay to plan this as a takeout our pizza night!
Stock up on school supplies. Even if you’ve already purchased everything your child needs for the school year, the next time you go to the store, pick up a few more items. Purchase those things you know you’ll need before the school year ends: glue sticks, pens, college or wide-ruled paper, spiral notebooks, notebook dividers and folders. Many of these items are on sale right now. Don’t forget to stock up on printer paper and ink. Yes, it’s expensive, but you’ll appreciate it when the printer runs out of black ink at 11:00 p.m. as your child prints a report that’s due the next day.
While your children are at school, enjoy something with your caree that your child would not enjoy. Connect with your caree in pleasurable way rather than just through those things you do for them every day. Do something your caree will enjoy such as listen to music they like, watch a movie they want to see even if they’ve seen it many times before, or go on an outing. My husband wants to visit an aircraft carrier, so rather than subject our teenaged son to this, we’re going in the next couple of weeks after he starts school.
Take a few minutes for yourself. I know this can be very hard, but try to squeeze in 15 minutes to do something for you. Sit in the yard and listen to the birds, read a book or magazine just for the fun of it, browse in the library, or go for a walk with a friend for example. Appreciate the great job that you are doing!
Program your cell phone now with the names and numbers of those people you can contact when you need their help. Make sure a trusted friend or neighbor has an extra key to your house. You never know when you’ll have to call on someone for help, but you can follow the Boy Scout motto and “Be Prepared.”
Have a great school year!
What tips would you add? Please share what works for you in our comments section, below.
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