Many families these days rely on two working parents to support the household. For many moms, and dads too, there can come a lot of guilt with wanting to maintain a career while also being a good parent. If you’re struggling to find a balance between work and spending quality time with your kids, you’re not alone! Learning how to balance work and home life is simple if you keep the 3 “P’s” in mind—planning, preparation, and prioritizing. By planning and preparing for your day in advance and prioritizing tasks, you’ll make time for your children where you never thought possible. Follow these tips to put the 3 “P’s” in action and get down the balancing act of work and kids:
Plan Ahead for the Morning and Squeeze in Some Quality Time
Hectic mornings spent running around getting the kids ready for school (and yourself ready for work) is a stressful start to the day not to mention a missed opportunity for some quality time with the family. Planning ahead for the morning and preparing as much as possible the night before, while the kids are asleep, will save time in the morning that’s better spent eating breakfast with your kids and chatting about whatever’s on their sweet little minds. Some things to do in the evening to save time in the morning include picking out clothes for the kids and yourself, making lunches, packing backpacks, the diaper bag, and your purse.
Create a Family Calendar to Help Prioritize
One of the most challenging things for balancing work and family is keeping schedules organized. Setting aside just 15 minutes a week to update the family calendar can help working parents plan out their days and avoid last-minute scurrying to take care of forgotten events or tasks.
Involve Your Children in the Kitchen
Cooking together is a great way to spend time with your children while also teaching them important life skills, including kitchen safety, responsibility, and build confidence. It may be easier to whip up a quick dinner by yourself but sharing the task with your children can make a chore into a fun bonding experience.
Become Involved in Your Child’s School
Becoming involved in your child’s school will help you connect with your child, enabling engaging conversations about school events, what your child is learning, and who their friends are. If you have time off during the week, you can volunteer in the classroom or join school field trips. Parents who work during the day can volunteer to help out in other ways, like planning classroom parties or preparing crafts.
Make Your Children, Not Your Smartphone, the Priority
After a long day at work, it’s normal to want to unwind with checking up on emails, Facebook, and texts. Staring at your smartphone or hopping on the computer right after work can cut into quality time you could be spending with your kids. The same is true for turning on the TV or playing video games instead of talking or playing with your children. Consistently choosing the smartphone, tablet, TV, or computer over paying attention to children sends a message to them that they aren’t important. Instead, save digital distractions for after your children are in bed.
Create a Flexible Schedule
Having a flexible schedule is one of the best ways to balance a career and spending time with children. There are multiple ways to create a flexible work schedule. In today’s digital world, many jobs can be performed from home and many employers are happy to let their workers do so. Another great way to create a flexible schedule is starting your own business. Companies like Amway are well established and allow you to be your own boss so you can decide when you work and how often, freeing up any time of the day for your little ones.
Leave Work On Time
Having a flexible schedule is great but if you work regular hours, stick to your schedule and commit to leaving from work on time, every day. Don’t take on optional overtime or lollygag around the office as this can drastically cut into quality family time. Being late getting home can also throw off the evening’s schedule, causing kids to get picked up later from childcare and dinners to get pushed back. Leave on time by staying focused while at work, eliminate distractions (like browsing the web or chitchatting all day) and don’t take extended lunches.
Set Aside Designated Family Time
Plan at least one day a week for designated family time. Establish a non-cancellation policy for family time to help ensure guaranteed quality time with your kids on a regular basis. Use family time to do fun activities where you and your kids can let loose together. Some activities to consider are playing board games, making craft projects, going on a picnic, or spending the afternoon at a local museum.
You may not always be able to split your time equally between the demands of work and raising a family, and that’s okay. Sometimes things may be going on at work that demand more attention and other times family requires more. The key is to not feel guilty about giving your attention to one over the other when it’s called for and to adjust when needed. Following these tips will help you juggle the demands of work and the joys of parenting. Good luck!
– By Jennifer Thayer
Jennifer Thayer is a technology writer who is passionate about exploring new ways technology can be used to make day-to-day tasks easier. Follow her on Twitter.