Many freelancers limit the amount of time they spend on work during the summer months, to fit more easily with their family’s schedule. Understandable. We want to spend time with them, enjoying activities and downtime together.
When the time comes for children to go back to school, the freelancer resumes his or her regular schedule. Combining these two events may take some getting used to again, but it will happen and everything will be back on track in no time.
To begin the process, plan for the start of the new school year during a family meeting. Prepare everyone in advance by asking them to bring a list of everything they will need to start the year off right. Have children include school supplies, sports needs, clothing, and a new alarm clock if one is needed. Perhaps your partner needs a new calculator and some pens for the bill paying center. Whatever they can think of. This does not necessarily mean they will get everything, but having an idea of wants and needs will be helpful. (Remember, the holidays are just around the corner. It is okay to pick up what isn’t needed now to give as gifts later.)
It’s also important to make a list of your own. Perhaps you are out of printer paper or highlighters, or are in need of a new ledger. Or a tablet might help your business on-the-go.
Do a few other things to prepare for this meeting as well, siting down with your partner and creating a checklist of important things to cover:
- Discuss any changes to the evening schedule, such as new bedtime, what each person needs to do to prepare them selves for the next morning, what time everyone will be waking up on school days, and what will need to take place each morning to get everyone out the door quickly.
- Decide beforehand if you will both walk the children to school, or to the bus stop and home again, or if one parent will handle mornings and the other afternoons.
- Decide on a schedule for your business. Will the family need to get themselves out the door on their own so you can begin your day, or will they need to be respectful of your workday when they arrive home from school and work. Perhaps you’ll stop working in time to make snacks for their arrival home, until after dinner on school days. Do what works best for you and your family.
- Create a task chart and schedule, so everyone knows what they need to do and when. Are their morning chores? Afternoon? Evening?
- Ask the children for suggestions for lunches for the first week or two of school. What would they like packed in their lunch. Try to keep it healthy, telling them they can choose and giving them guidelines.
The steps above will help you get through the family meeting without a hitch. Explain how you are trying to keep things fair for everyone, and be sure you are each prepared for the new schedule. Try these ideas, or come up with your own:
- Do all the shopping together as a family. Make a day of it and have a picnic in the park.
- Plan to spend a little time after dinner looking over homework, signing papers, and getting everyone ready for the next day. Have jackets, shoes, and packed backpacks in the entry to help everyone get out the door quickly in the morning. Make up lunch sacks, as a family, after dinner each evening, placing them in the refrigerator for easy grabbing in the morning. Lay each persons clothing by their bedside so they can easily get dressed, and have each child take a bath before bed.
- Don’t forget important bedtime routines such as reading together as a family, or reading your child a book while laying on the bed next to him.
- Again with your partner, decide on easy, healthy breakfast menus. Some foods might be made in advance. Oatmeal can be put in the slow cooker on low over night. Place a fruit bowl, ever-at-the-ready, on the table, so each person can choose what they want to go with their breakfast.
- Be sure each family member, including yourself, is going to bed early enough to get plenty of sleep for the next day.
When each person is well prepared for the day, things will go better for everyone. This will help start your workday off right, aiding you in getting things done without feeling too rushed. A happy family makes for a happy freelancer.
How do you prepare for the school year? Let us know in the comments, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I always respond.
Shannon L. Buck
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