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Balancing Work and School – Tips for Parents

Balancing Work and School – Tips for Parents

Summer is officially over, and as the school year begins, your children may now be learning from home full time. Managing your work responsibilities and your children’s school routines might be challenging, and it will take time to adjust. Here are some time management and communication tips to help you get started:

  • Establish a daily routine within your family to help set expectations, decrease stress, build independence, and balance your work and home environment.
  • Create a shared family calendar with your work appointments, deadlines, and stretches of dedicated work and school time.
  • Provide structured breaks in your children’s daily schedule. Allow outdoor play as an outlet for extra energy and plan relaxing activities to allow children to recharge and decompress.
  • Have a backup supply of special toys, activities, and food you can offer to your children during scheduling conflicts or challenging moments.
  • Set up a learning space at home. Consider rearranging furniture or using open areas like the dining room table. Keep all school work and materials in storage tubs that can be packed up at the end of the day.
  • Set up your own workspace separately from your children’s learning area and common play areas, if possible.
  • Plan your work and meeting times around your children’s naps and meals, if possible.
  • Advise your supervisor in advance and set expectations with colleagues at the beginning of meetings about potential disruptions that may occur.
  • If you are struggling to balance your work with your children’s school lessons, take inventory of what work or projects can be done after business hours or once your children are asleep and talk with your supervisor about adjusting your hours.
  • Take advantage of free online resources, projects, and learning experiences:
    • The National Head Start Association collected this list of free learning resources for young children.
    • Sesame Street is offering special resources including a virtual hug from Elmo and animations about washing hands and caring for each other.
    • The Smithsonian Institution offers a website that includes interactive tools to allow children of all ages to virtually visit the Institute’s museums and zoo.
    • NPR has several podcasts for children and parents including topics like "What do dogs see when they look at the rainbow?" to "Do animals laugh?".

Your Employee Assistance Program is Here to Help

Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to help support you and your family members during these challenging times. Your EAP can help you locate tutors and educational support programs for your children as they return to school.

Your EAP also provides free and confidential resources, information, and support to help you manage your work-life responsibilities. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information, contact your Component EAP, or send an email to worklife@hq.dhs.gov.

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