5 Tips from Working Moms on Managing Child Care

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, we’re not talking about the holiday season, but rather the back-to-school season! For many working moms who struggled to cover child care over the summer, sending the kids back to school can be a welcome sigh of relief. But even if you have kid care covered during school hours, you may still have to scramble to cover child care for after school hours or if your little ones are too small to be in school yet.
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Here are five tips from working moms themselves on how to manage child care—and how to control the back-to-school chaos.

Determine your needs.
No two working mom’s child-care needs are alike. Some may need full-time coverage, while others just need someone to watch their child a few hours sprinkled throughout the week. So go over your schedule as well as your partner’s to decide exactly how much kid care coverage you actually need. By being very specific in determining your needs, you can potentially save yourself a lot of money—and frustration—in the long run.

Find child care that works for you.
Not all child care is created equal. Depending on your child’s age, you may discover that certain types of child care work better for you and your family than others. For example, if you have a baby, you may opt to have an in-home nanny stay with you while you work to avoid exposing your little one to icky germs. As your child gets older, socialization may be what you’re seeking, so you may want to enroll your child in a local day care. And if your kid is school-aged, a part-time sitter may do the trick to cover those extra hours until you’re done working for the day.

Score a flexible schedule.
If you thought working from home meant that you’d never, ever need child-care coverage again, well, think again. Having a flexible schedule does mean that you can creatively cover child care more easily than your in-office colleagues, though. You may find a telecommuting position that allows you to work around your children’s schedules (i.e., early in the morning or late at night) or right smack in the middle of the day—when kids are in school. Other work-at-home-moms (WAHMs) may find that doing a kid swap on certain days helps to take care of child-care coverage issues without costing a pretty penny.

Once you’ve got child-care coverage established, it’s time to start planning how you’ll prep for getting kids ready for back to school.

Do a run through.
If it’s possible, see if you can attend a tour of your child’s school. Point out the different rooms (such as Art or Language Arts) that your child will be going to. If your kid will be going on the bus, you can drive him along the bus route so he can get used to the ride. That way, the new school year won’t seem as scary.

Prepare ahead of time.
Nothing adds to the stress of a back-to-school morning like leaving everything for the morning! So try to get as much done as you can in the days prior and even the night before. Have outfits ironed and ready to wear, and pack lunches and store in the refrigerator. By having most of the prep work done prior, you’ll minimize the stressfulness of the morning and have both you and your kid calm and ready for a fun school year!

Jennifer Parris is a Career Writer for FlexJobs, an award-winning service that helps job-seekers find professional opportunities that offer work flexibility, such as telecommuting, freelance, part-time or alternative schedules. To learn more about Jennifer, visit FlexJobs.com or tweet @flexjobs.