Top 10 Back-to-School Challenges Working Parents Face

Top 10 Back-to-School Challenges Working Parents Face

We all know that feeling, when summer starts to wind down and families start thinking about changing schedules (again) with back-to-school. In addition to a shift in schedules and routine, for working parents, back to school brings a whole other host of challenges.

From new supplies to new schools, bus schedules, drop-offs, and pickups, or unplanned sick days, school holidays, or after school activities, there is a lot about back-to-school that doesn’t mesh with work schedules, and employers need to keep this in mind as we head into the fall. Here’s a look at the top 10 back to school challenges working families face, and how employers can support them.

1. Gap Week Coverage

“Gap Week” is the infamous week between school ending and summer camps starting; and then later the end of summer camps and the start of school.  Finding coverage, while maintaining a regular work schedule is difficult, especially when every parent in your school district is experiencing the same issue. With employer sponsored child care support like Backup Care, employees can survive gap week without taking time off work.

2. Flexibility to Acclimate to New Schedules

Bus schedules, drop off times and carpool shifts take some time getting used to. Hybrid or remote work options, with flexible morning and afternoon hours can help for the first few weeks of school.

3. Tools to Plan Ahead for Child Care

Parents can’t be in two places at once. With the average school day in the U.S starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m, this is a problem for parents who work from 9-5 or for 43% who work non-traditional hours. Whether it’s an extra set of hands to help before school starts or after school care, lining up care before the school year begins is key for many families to avoid waitlists and secure availability(especially when after-school sitters cost families an average of just under $200 per week.) Access to platforms like the Care Membership, gives employees access to a large network of both ongoing and backup caregivers they need to fill in the gaps of their work schedule and keep themselves present and productive at work.

4. Anxious Children = Anxious Parents

The anxious child who is crying every morning for two weeks at school drop-off, involving a stressful and prolonged process of getting to school (and thus coming in to work late) can take its toll on any parent. For a working parent, worrying about your child’s back-to-school anxieties can impact their work day, not only with the situation making them late for work, but the worrying about how they are doing throughout the day. Connect parents with younger school-aged children to your parenting employee resource groups so they can find comfort amongst their peers.

5. Back-to-School Expenses

With the cost of inflation still impacting families, new supplies, clothes, and teacher supplies can add up! Employer-sponsored discount programs, like LifeMart, gives families exclusive access to back-to-school discounts every year.

6. Extra Help Around the House

Outside of back to school chaos is everyday life that still needs to be managed. The house will get messy, the dog might miss its walk, or Grandma needs a ride to her doctor’s appointment. By giving your employees access to a caregiving marketplace, like Care Membership, employees can get help caring for their pets, cleaning their homes, and looking after their aging parents while they find their new routine.

7. After School Activity Schedules

School sports and other activities are great for kids, and for parents who need to bridge the gap between the end of school and the end of their work day. With concierge care services like Care Specialists, employers are able to offer their employees support from experts who can help them research, budget, and schedule after school activities for their children. This saves working parents hours of valuable time and further aligns the schedules of everyone at home.

8. Getting a Second Opinion

For some families, the biggest of all back-to-school stressors is getting everything organized, and keeping it that way. If working parents don’t have a system (or systems) in place, this can easily lead to information overload — which can impact an employee’s ability to be productive at work. Giving your employees access to educational resources and webinars can help lighten the load and give working parents a community while they help their kids through another year of school.

9. Educational Development

The pressure of staying on top of how your child is doing in school can be overwhelming, with many parents reporting how important it is to keep an eye on how their child is doing with their studies. When employers offer working parents access to On-Demand Tutoring benefits that are available 24/7 remotely for grades K-12, they give parents more resources to assist their children in school, without extra pressure on their schedules.

10. First Comes High School…Then Comes College!

Once you’ve seen your kids through every back-to-school year, then parents have to help them get into college (which is a full time job in itself). Leading employers offer college advising benefits like Care for College, to support parents and students on their college journey. According to CollegeVine’s annual satisfaction benchmarking survey, college advising can save families on average 19 hours per student!