How to Survive the School Year with a Newborn and School-Aged Children
By Glenda Adams, RN, MSN, IBCLC
You’ve settled into a routine, and your family has adjusted to a new normal. We hope that the following tips will decrease your stress as you settle into the school year:
- Give everyone in the family the same bedtime and wake-up time.
We know it’s tempting to stay up after the kids go to bed. But being tired causes irritability, which adds to stress. Having a consistent bedtime and wake-up time for everyone may improve sleep.
Pre-pack school lunch and after-school snacks.Planning the night before makes the next morning run more smoothly.
- Set out next-day clothes.
Nothing is more aggravating than hunting for lost shoes! Laying out clothes and shoes the night before can save both your time and your sanity the next morning.
- Organize your schedule.
Consider using a family calendar to keep you on track. When we’re fatigued, we can’t always rely on our memories. A calendar keeps everyone on the same page about planned events and responsibilities.
- Designate space for the things you bring with you.
Create a designated space for jackets, backpacks, your purse, your car keys, the diaper bag, etc. Knowing where to find these items will make leaving your house a breeze!
- Keep the car fueled.
So you keep it all organized and you manage to get in the car on time – only to find the gas gauge on empty! Someone take charge keeping the gas tanks filled before they get too low.
- Carry your baby in a sling.
We all have days when it’s just not possible to plan the night before. Carrying your baby in a sling while you prepare to leave gives you mental space (and the hands!) to make lunches and find backpacks.
- Ask for help.
When you need it, ask for help. Consider carpooling or arranging after-school play dates to give you time to get back into your routine.
- Let siblings care for the baby.
If you breastfeed, and your older kids can manage the task, let them hold the baby while you prepare for breastfeeding. Use the time to go to the bathroom and get a snack before you sit down to feed the baby. If you use bottles, have your older child(ren) bottle feed the baby while you make dinner or prepare lunch for the next day. This approach helps you and allows them to spend quality time together.
- Let your children help you.
Have your older child(ren) get you a glass of water and a snack while you are feeding the baby. We all loved to be waited on. Give your older child(ren) the opportunity to wait on you. Put your feet up!
- Read a book.
Grab a good book and snuggle during feedings.
- Study with your child(ren) during feedings.
Feedings can be a great time to practice spelling words and math problems with your kids. You can also have your older kids read aloud to you and the baby while you feed. Reading aloud can increase kids’ literacy and self-confidence – as well as keeping you all entertained!
Glenda M. Adams, RN, MSN, IBCLC is a Certified Lactation Consultant at North Raleigh Pediatric Group, P.A. Learn more about North Raleigh Pediatric Group services at northraleighpediatrics.com or on their Facebook page.