Working parents have to balance their career and kids which is not a job for the faint of heart. As a working parent, you are likely to feel torn between your work responsibilities and spending time with your child. The good news is that organizing your day and scheduling your time will allow you to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Tips for working parents to Spend More Time with their Child
- Have breakfast together
For many families, breakfast is a hurried affair, where parents simply place a bowl of cereal in front of their child and then rush off to see to their morning chores. Breakfast presents the perfect opportunity for family bonding and it helps the entire family start the day on a positive note. Create a morning routine with ample time for a family breakfast where your child can tell you his plans for the day. A recent study indicates that family breakfasts help to promote healthy food patterns in children, especially adolescents. A simple way to prevent the usual morning rush is to get organized the night before.
- Involve your child in cooking
The last thing you want to do when you get home from a long work day is start cooking. Involve your child in preparing daily meals to turn this tiring chore into quality family time. This will also help your child develop a valuable skill and learn to avoid potential kitchen accidents. Teaching your child to cook will improve his eating habits and help him understand the basics of food and nutrition. Limit his help according to his age and proficiency. Children who are below 5 years of age can stick to simple tasks such as rinsing fruits and vegetables and mashing vegetables while older children can take on cooking chores such as peeling vegetables and grating cheese.
- Do not watch TV during dinner
As a working parent, it is not easy to juggle your job and your child’s after school activities which is why you might be tempted to enjoy your dinner in front of your television. However, dinner is the ideal time for working parents to spend some quality time with their child. Family meals strengthen ties and fosters a sense of belonging which helps to improve a child’s self-esteem. It is also a good opportunity for you to be a role model for your child and set an example of good table manners and healthy eating. A recent study found that individuals who don’t watch television during family meals have 37% lower odds of obesity as compared to those who did.
- Have family pizza night
Set aside one day a week as family pizza night. This will give you a much needed break from your chores and allow you to play board games or have a long and leisurely chat with your child. It’s best to allocate Fridays for family pizza night as this will give you something to look forward to once you hit mid-week and the weekend seems so very far away. It is also a way for you to recharge and prepare for the weekend ahead.
- Turn off your devices when spending time with your child
Working parents feel that they need to constantly be available in case of a work emergency which is why they keep the volume up on their mobile phones. However, you will notice that most of the calls and messages that you receive during this time are not even work-related. When spending time with your child, turn off your devices or keep them on silent in a different room. You will find that this simple act will drastically increase the amount of time you spend with your child. Your child will also feel happy to get your undivided attention even if it is just for a short period of time. Keep in mind that you are a role model for your child which means that if you are constantly on your devices, your child is more likely to develop a tech addiction later on.
- Special bedtime ritual
Working parents have to juggle multiple roles and responsibilities which can be stressful and frustrating at times. However, spending even a few minutes with your child at the end of a long workday will make it all worthwhile. Create a daily bedtime ritual with your child according to his preferences– it can be anything from singing a song together, reading him a story or simply wrapping your arms around him in a long and satisfying hug.
As a parent, you want to give your child the best you can which drives you to work harder. However, this could reduce the amount of time you get with your child so keep a track of your weekly work hours. According to the experts at What To Expect, a working mum can exercise with her child even if he is still a baby or toddler as this will help them bond. Exercising as a family will help your child develop a healthy attitude towards physical exercise and will improve their overall growth and development.