Juggling “Back To School” with older children and a new baby

 
Now that summer is drawing to a close and back to school time is upon us, families with older children and a newborn baby may be wondering how to handle the transition. During the lazy days of summer, it is somewhat easier to care for all of the children under one roof. Now, we are facing early wake-up calls, transportation to and from school, homework, studying and stricter bedtimes. It is typical for moms to feel overwhelmed, especially when there is a newborn to care for as well.

Involve The Baby In The Routine

School days are all about keeping a schedule. From waking up and leaving the house, to taking a bath and going to bed, and everything in between, it all must be done at a certain time. Have the baby’s nap schedule revolve around the older children’s school routine. Wake the baby at the same time as the other kids, and put him down for a nap after you drop the kids off at school. Schedule another nap for an hour or so before you need to leave to pick the kids up, and a third nap for while the kids are doing homework. By having everyone schedules line up, including the newborn, it will keep things more structured.

Use A Doula

A doula is a great resource for busy moms with several children. Usually, the relationship with this person begins a few months before the birth, so if you already have one, that’s wonderful. If not, you can still use this option. A doula will provide the support that a busy mom needs, and help her keep her schedule in order. If a mom is overwhelmed, the kids and the newborn can sense this. Having a professional provide the help you need can ensure that day to day activities run smoothly. It also gives you someone to provide the emotional support that you may need. These professionals are here for the new mom as well as the newborn. They can be a great resource if you need someone to talk to about your needs and concerns, and they can suggest ways to make daily life a little easier.

Ask Friends Or Family For Help

You may need to enlist the help of a friend or family member a few days a week for baby care. Perhaps someone could babysit for a few hours several times per week or even each day in order to give you some time to devote your full attention to the older kids. If friends or family members are not available, use resources in your community. High School students are often looking for after-school work, and make great mothers’ helpers! Or, you can have someone help the older kids with homework and after-school activities while you tend to the newborn. In order to handle after school activities, look for carpools in your community. It is possible that you can arrange for your older children to be driven to and from sporting events, lessons, and practices.

Make Time For Yourself

Now that back to school time is here, it is important that you make time for yourself in order to have the needed energy to take on the new tasks that this time of year brings. You could choose to have a babysitter for an hour or so in the mornings while you go have coffee by yourself and relax. Or, you can look into the services of an infant care specialist. These highly trained professionals provide care for your infant, relieving much of the stress that a new mom experiences. Look online or ask friends for recommendations for an infant care specialist in your area who can provide trustworthy baby care.

Prioritize

Make it a point to prioritize. Let the older kids know what they need to do, and when it needs to be done by. It is important that you don’t try to handle everything by yourself. At the beginning of each week, you can make a calendar for yourself and the kids that include chores, homework times, and bath and bedtime routines. Ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them each day, and make sure they stick to it. This will teach the kids a sense of responsibility and keep you more organized as well. Reward the older kids for getting their chores done in a timely manner.

Although it can be stressful, the start of a new school year does not have to be overwhelming. The key is keeping yourself organized, and most of all, be realistic. You can’t possibly be everywhere at once or do everything by yourself, so ask for the help you need and stress the importance of everyone playing a role in the daily routine.