Helping employers to boost working-parent wellbeing, productivity & work-life balance

How 'back to school' impacts on your working parents

Whilst the return to school will fill many of your colleagues with a sense of relief following the pressure of keeping children occupied for six weeks straight, there will also be many who will be filled with a sense of dread.

As a business owner and/or leader within your organisation - here are some of the things we can become more sensitive to:


The Morning Battle - Early Years

During the 0-5yrs – the morning battle is generally about organisation in order to get out of the house on time. Aside from the occasional anomalies, the time it takes is generally in the control of parents.

The rush to get the little ones fed. The rush to get them dressed. The allotted time for tantrums. The commute to childcare before work. It’s no trivial pursuit – but it is generally in the hands of moms and/or dads.

Plus, when a parent of a younger one arrives to work, looking a little worse for wear – we all understand. We cock our head to the side and give the gentle nod of reassurance.

We give them a minute to gather their thoughts – and it’s okay.


The Morning Battle - Older Years

Now, compare this to getting out the house with a teen or tween… and I want you to understand that the following are not inconsequential points.

Indeed, research shows that it's the hassles which are faced by parents day-in and day-out, which cause more harm to their wellbeing than the big, 'one-off 'stressors involving their children.

So, there is a serious knock-on effect that is carried from a parent’s home environment, onto their next destination – the workplace!

Let’s take a look at what they deal with once the alarm clock kicks in:

  • First, there is getting their older children up and out of bed. This hurdle is in of itself, no mean feat. The cajoling the persuading - and as the clock ticks - the eventual, and understandable, decent into threats.
    It’s exhausting from the off!
  • Teens spending too long in the bathroom. The repercussions meaning that whoever is next in line is left feeling frustrated and rushed. This can lead to loud exchanges: fists banging on the bathroom door, and complaints - where back-and-forth insults fly. Refereeing at this point – becomes a thing.
    Then there’s
  • Dealing with crankiness because they didn’t go to bed early enough the night before - as they were told to. Sigh.
  • The gritting of teeth and energy needed for restraint, as older children answer back with cheeky, laser-focused quips at every attempt to move things briskly forward.
  • Manging teen stress and tantrums about bad hair days. Makeup not going right.
  • Ensuring they eat a 'proper' breakfast. A drama that can unfold into epic proportions.
  • Time needed to find the ever-elusive school sports socks - so as to avoid the detention letter home
  • Time needed to find missing books and equipment - to again, avoid the above
  • Finding out homework hasn’t been done - and being resigned to the fact that a detention letter will inevitably be sent home
  • Making last-minute sandwiches (with bread ends and complaints) or ensuring their school dinner account is topped off with enough money so as not to be reported to the school office (again) by their children, for neglect
  • The scrabble out of the house and into the car
  • The thankless school drop off, and the rush to work in traffic that is backed up and therefore allows zero opportunity for haste

And then there is the eventual relief felt by them as they walk through the workplace doors.

Exhale! They made it!

Let’s also give these colleagues, who are raising older children, a gentle understanding nod and a quick minute, to gather their thoughts too.

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