By Jennifer Chung, Kinsights.com
Raising healthy well-adjusted kids takes a lot of energy. Working parents can feel like they are being pulled in multiple directions simultaneously which can be stressful and have an adverse impact on kids. Whether you are a single parent or a dual income family, balancing family and career can be challenging. Check out these family friendly tips to bring structure to a fragmented lifestyle.
Be present – Parents have to work, that is just a fact of life. Kids sometimes feel neglected when both parents work. Juggling family and career can create a hectic home life and kids can easily sense when they are not at the top of the priority list. Stress at work can also rear its ugly head at home by giving in to short tempers and using harsh words. The best way to build a harmonious home life is to be present when you’re home. Check the worries of the day at the door and be intentional about focusing on the kids. Eating dinner together and having a bedtime ritual the kids can count on will help reinforce how much they are loved and cared for.
Validate your child’s feelings – Encourage your kids to talk about how they feel when you have to work long hours. Validate how they feel and speak in terms that are age appropriate. Create rules for home that exclude bringing work home. If work must to be done, make sure it’s completed after the kids are tucked into bed. Make family time a priority. Eating dinner together as a family may not always be possible so schedule a family night once a week to do activities together as a family. Having something positive for the kids to look forward to will help balance out the negative feelings they may experience while you’re away at work.
Create quality time – When kids are young, early bedtimes play a role in how much family time is available during the week. Make the most of the time you have with the kids by turning off technology and making them feel like they are your only priority after work. Be intentional about your family plan and schedule time for the things that are truly important. Kids don’t understand the difference between quality and quantity time when they are little so it’s important to make all of the time you spend together quality time. Create an atmosphere of love and explain everyone’s role in the family. For mommy and daddy, one of those roles is earning money, etc.
Have an after-school plan – Latch key kids are still at risk if there is no adult supervision after school. Kids should not be left on their own to raise themselves. Kids with two working parents can suffer when it comes time to do homework and getting the help they need to succeed. If both parents work, insure there is a plan in place to help your child get homework done by hiring a tutor after school, using school provided services or enlisting a family member to help.
Focus on benefits – Increased income generated by both parents working can create additional opportunities for kids that might not otherwise be possible. Traveling as a family, taking art or music classes, or even attending private schools can be a benefit of both parents working. Children with working parents also are exposed to other social settings which can spark emotional and social development. Kids in households with two working parents learn at a young age that other adults can care for them and meet their needs.
Recent studies show that two income households can produce happy, confident, well-adjusted kids. Focus on what is right for you whether that means pursuing a career or staying at home, kids will notice and respond accordingly.
About Jennifer Chung & Kinsights:
Jennifer Chung is a parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights.com: part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to seek answers to their questions while also helping them track their child’s health information. Organize your child’s growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more. Connect with Kinsights at https://kinsights.com to learn more and sign-up! You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@kinsights).