Effective Parenting tips for working parents
- March 12, 2016
- Posted by: Parikshit Jobanputra
- Category: Relationship / Family
Being a parent and a career person is like doing two jobs, back-to-back. Plus there’s the guilt of not being able to do justice to either. Is there any way to break this vicious cycle? Sure there is. With a little rearrangement of schedule and a change in perspective, you will be able to break free of this constant worry about not doing enough for your kids, and for your jobs. Let me give you some tips:
Tips for working parents
Stop hankering for perfection
Give up the idea of becoming a ‘Super Mom’ or ‘Super Dad’ and a ‘Super Employee’. This does not mean that you submit mediocre work at office, or that it’s okay to ignore your kids–far from it. On the contrary, you have to constantly strive to give your best at both places. However, you also need to be prepared for occasional compromises and adjustments. There are invariably going to be situations when your kid falls sick on the day of a crucial presentation at work. At such times, you will have to take tough decisions. Sit down calmly, assess your priorities, and decide what is more important at that point in time. Once the decision is taken, stop feeling guilty about it. The fact remains that you cannot be at two places at the same time.
Manage your time well
Maintain a daily planner and a to-do list, which can direct your day, week and month. Not only will it give you a perspective on the tasks before you, but it will also enable you to anticipate the amount of time and effort that will be required of you. Plan your schedule especially around the children’s school calendar; mark out their holidays, exams, open days, PTA meetings. Once you mark these out in advance, you can plan your schedule at work accordingly, to the extent possible to you. It is also helpful to take your spouse’s schedule and calendar into account when planning your own schedule.
Plan in advance
Work out your childcare plans well in advance, preferably even before your baby is born. This will help you anticipate problems and work out best possible solutions. Evaluate childcare options available to you: parents or in-laws willing and able to care for your children, day care or crèche, or a live-in maid. Jointly discuss what would work best for you as there are pros and cons attached to each of the options. Together you can decide the best option.
Parenting is a joint responsibility, and both the mother and the father have a crucial role to play in it. So, divide responsibilities. But also be flexible. There will be times when papa just won’t able to cancel an important meeting though it is his turn to take the children to their sports class. At such times, mom may need to chip in. Such adjustments are critical, as there will often be times when you will experience a clash of priorities.
Rope in support from your family
Not just your partner, but your in-laws, parents, and siblings can become your support systems when you need them. Build relationships with them that are mutually satisfying, so that they are there for you whenever you need them.
Build bonds with other parents
Often, you will find that parents of your child’s classmates are in the same boat as you. If you have a good relationship with them, you can split school-related responsibilities–such as having a car pool. This will also enable you to have a better idea of what is happening in school.
Teach your children the value of independence
Raise children to be independent. Explain to them the nature of your work, why it is important to you, as well as your value to the organisation you work for. Teach them to do things for themselves, so that the time that you spend with them is indeed quality time. Often, we hide our struggles and efforts from our children. Instead, make them aware of it. This will inculcate sensitivity and awareness in them. They will learn to treat you and your work, as well as work in general, seriously.
Find creative ways to spend time with your kids
It is important that you spend time with your kids as often as you can. You can have a casual conversation, discussing your day, in the kitchen, while you are cooking the evening meal. You can call up your child during a break to have a general chat, or just check on how she is doing. You can just bond with her while discussing the latest car models as you wash the car together every Sunday. There are plenty of opportunities of spending time with your children. You just have to be open to finding them.
Always keep communication open with your child–no matter how old he or she is. Make a habit of leaving notes for your children, which they can read when the return home from school or tuition classes, discuss things with them, ask them how they feel about things. Most importantly, listen to them when they talk.
Don’t feel guilt
Many parents feel so guilty about the fact that they don’t spend enough time with their kids that they often end up overcompensating. Overcompensation can be in the form of material things or in giving in to every wish, desire and demand that the child makes. Alternately, some parents in the fear of not spoiling the child become too strict. It’s important to be natural as parents, and follow your instincts, rather than allow guilt to drive your reactions and responses.
Enjoy their innocence
Most important of all, enjoy the time you spend with your children without allowing guilt to come into the picture. Remember, you are doing your best for the child, you are the parent, and you love your children. Cherish the bond you share with them, and give your best, and it will be enough. Your child will learn to value you, respect you as a parent as well as a person, and you would have done a great job at parenthood.