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Top 5 tips for working parents | How to survive your first school year!

As I get his shiny new uniform ready for Year One, it dawns on me that my son and I somehow managed to survive Reception.

This time last year, I remember the overwhelming feeling of anxiety. For him in terms of how he would settle and for me as to how I would manage to juggle everything with work. What happened if he cried everyday? How would I manage if he was struck down with a virus? And what are inset days? More childcare to worry about! Not to mention summer holidays, 6 weeks off? ... Brain explodes!

These were some of the small issues that would keep me awake at night while I could hear my husband happily snoring away....

The good news is that my son and I survived his first year at school and loved every minute (mostly!). So to help those working parents entering this new phase of life, here are some of my top tips.

  1. Let it go, let it go (sorry I couldn't resist)… At first I felt like a complete failure if I hadn't actually 'baked' cakes to send into school for the charity cake sale, or my son’s bike needed flashing fairy lights (yes I did this!) for his bike competition. Do your best, I realised my son was happy that I remembered and whatever we managed between was good enough. Don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself. No one really cares!
  2. Build a network. Obviously if you're working it can be difficult, but that's no excuse. Organise dinner/drinks, make sure regular group emails go out or set up a Facebook group for parents. You won't be alone with feeling guilty for working whilst trying to juggle life, and other parents are a great source of advice and support.
  3. Don't over commit! As tempting as it is to become a class rep and join the parents committee … and the list goes on, avoid this in your first year. Leave it to other parents who genuinely have time or have experience of school life (older siblings). I'm not saying you won’t be committed but think it through.
  4. Make it count. You can't attend every possible school event but make sure you're there for the major things like Christmas concerts, sports day etc.
  5. Get organised. Set reminders, add all important dates in your phone and coordinate with your boss/work up front. It's difficult at first but no point in hiding where you need to be. I also trade my time e.g I need to attend sports day but can work late when the kids are in bed. Our children grow up fast so don't miss out.


Above all, the most important factor I always come back to is having a supportive boss and employer. Its a non-negotiable if you want to survive the journey. 

I'm really lucky to have been with Morgan McKinley for nearly 10 years. During that time I've had four roles and two children. I still absolutely love getting out of bed everyday to work here, and feel very fortunate to work in a supportive environment where I’m able to manage work / life blend whilst having the opportunity to progress and deliver L&D initiatives for the business globally. In return I’m flexible to ensure deadlines are met, I still deliver a high standard and I ensure I maximise my time effectively (fitting in the odd fancy dress costume making session along the way!).

I hope you found this helpful, good luck and above all enjoy!

  • Sep 01, 2015
  • Careers , Culture
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Rachel Halliday

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