It is indisputable that being a single parent is a herculean task in general, but the school year can be particularly challenging. Parenting requires an immense amount of time, particularly when you are trying to balance pick up and drop off schedules, your work schedule, your child’s extracurricular activities, and making sure that they’re getting homework done.

Read on to learn our tips for juggling your child’s school year with your life as a single parent.

Plan Ahead

This one may seem obvious, but that sometimes means that it is overlooked. Talk to your child and try and anticipate issues that may arise during the school week, and include them in your decisions.

Have a close friend or family member that is comfortable being the emergency contact for your child in case they need something, and you cannot leave work. Discuss with your child what exactly constitutes as an emergency. If they are feeling sick, having the school call you or the contact is acceptable. A forgotten homework assignment, however, is an inconvenience but not an emergency.

Take care of as much as you can the night before, make preparing for the day part of your routine. Doing simple things like laying out your outfits, packing lunches, and double check that all homework is complete.

Communicate

Let you child’s teacher know that you are a single parent, many of them will sympathize and avoid inconveniencing you during the day with phone calls. This is especially important if you have a younger child.

Also communicate with your place of employment that you have a school-aged child and you may need to accommodate them. Hopefully, your work will be accommodating and allow you to leave if you have to attend school events like parent-teacher conference night or if you need to pick up your little one if they get sick.

Utilize Resources

Public schools often have resources that are designed to help working parents. If you are concerned about pickup and drop-off, busses are a

Public schools often have safe and easy bus routes, even for younger children.

great option!

If you don’t want your little one to come home to any empty house, many schools have after-school programs where students can do homework and activities. These are often run by people who have been screened by the county, so you know they are trustworthy without having to spend that time or money yourself. Public school after-school programs are often free or very cheap because they’re subsidized.

Many extracurricular activities for younger kids – from dance studios to martial arts dojos – do pick-ups as schools let out. You can search your local area for these sorts of programs. This has the obvious bonus of giving your child after-school enrichment.

Ultimately, how you handle your child’s school year is up to your discretion, but do not be afraid to reach out for help. Schools, especially public schools, truly want their students and families to succeed.