Does it feel like Mother’s Day just flew by – and now, all of a sudden, the kids are almost out of school? At this time of year, parents of (pre)school-age children juggle a seemingly endless flurry of potlucks, teacher meetings, shows and ceremonies.
Here are 5 strategies to reduce stress and allow you to enjoy these milestone moments with your child!
1. Keep your calendar current : Communication about upcoming school or class events tends to pour into email inboxes. As soon as you see an action item with a certain due date – be it a task or an event – mark your calendar right away. Otherwise, the information can get lost or forgotten. And even if it doesn’t, keeping current will spare you the task of going back and sifting through your messages! Set reminders far enough in advance so that if you have forgotten, you still have time to act 🙂
2. Allow extra time for coordination tasks : Allow enough lead time for the things that may need it. Recruiting volunteers, gathering funds for a teacher gift – anything which requires coordination among several people – should be budgeted for on your end-of-year timeline. Then, give people deadlines and feel free to stick to them!
3. Take shortcuts : Whether it’s a store-bought cake for the potluck or a school play costume purchased online, time-savers like these let you focus on the tasks and events that require your presence, or that need more time. If you’re a room parent : using technology to organize a group can help you get responses more quickly. Apps like KangaDo let you post a request to a whole group at once on their smartphones, and instantly notify you when responses come in.
4. Ask for help, or divide and conquer : Rides and childcare for younger siblings (or siblings in different schools) are lifesavers at this busy time of year! End-of-year schedules are not always compatible across siblings in different grades or schools, so parents may have to divide and conquer if there are scheduling conflicts.
5. Try to avoid major deadlines or travel at work : If at all possible (and if applicable) try to avoid the end-of-schoolyear period when planning business trips and project deadlines that keep you in the office after hours. Sometimes a day here or there is not an issue. If it is, be sure to line up backup from family and friends so that your child/class feels supported during this exciting time. Make sure they take pictures or videos so that you can share the moments with your child afterward – they will be proud to show you!
Most of all, take time to relax and enjoy the company of fellow parents and teachers – and to celebrate your child’s accomplishments. They really do grow up so fast!