As a working parent, you know your job isn't easy. In fact, balancing work responsibilities and taking care of children at the same time can be a challenging task. Besides your kids needing your attention, time, and guidance, you also need to fulfil your job requirements and manage your home life seamlessly. Sound impossible? That's because it is.
Unfortunately, many parents struggle with the pressure of working like career-driven individuals and simultaneously parenting their kids like stay-at-home moms or dads. Why? Because although society promotes support for busy parents striving to cling to their careers, the truth is the workplace is a tough environment, even without the additional pressures of family life.
So, it's no wonder that while trying to manage an endless mountain of household chores, including homework, playdates, and sports activities, you're left feeling more than a little overwhelmed as you try to prepare for tomorrow's board meeting!
The question is, how do we parents stay on top of our A-game, juggling kids, home life and work deadlines with the aplomb of an ambidextrous circus octopus? Thankfully help is at hand, or rather tentacle!
In this Piper Finn blog post, we share 15 positive parenting tips for working parents to help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Positive Parenting Tips for Busy Parents
- Set clear boundaries:
Setting clear boundaries is essential when you are a working parent. Let your supervisor and colleagues know your availability timing and stick to your schedule. There's no point staying late to accrue workplace brownie points if your kids are not collected from school or nursery on time! It simply has a knock-on effect on your schedule and increases stress levels for you and your children.
- Plan your day:
Planning your day can save you time and reduce stress. Each week, draft a to-do list with the most important tasks prioritized.
- Be flexible:
Despite all your planning, sometimes you may need to adjust your schedule due to unexpected events. For example, running late at the office, the kids falling sick, the dog needing an urgent vet visit, or the car needing repair. As a working parent, it's important to be flexible with a contingency plan in place for emergencies.
- Communicate with your child:
Communication is the key to successful parenting while working. Dinner time is an ideal window of opportunity to catch up on the whole family's day. With everyone sitting around the table, enjoying their meal, you can chat with your child about their day at school, friends, and activities.
- Get help for single parents who work:
Every working parent, whether single or part of a couple, needs a support system in place to survive. Having someone who can care for your child when you or your partner are not around, like a family member, friend, or trusted caregiver, can reduce the pressure you may feel when work responsibilities become overwhelming. You can also access advice and help for single parents who work via online forums and parenting websites.
- Prioritize quality time:
Quality time is more important than quantity when spending time with your child. Have meaningful conversations, engage in enjoyable activities, and create happy memories. Most importantly, when spending time with your kids, be present, and don't allow technology (phones) or work issues (emails or phone calls) to distract you.
- Take care of yourself:
Self-care is the one thing most working parents are incredibly bad at scheduling into their routine. Unfortunately, as a working parent, it's easy to forget about your own well-being, and yet, if we don't care for ourselves, it affects our super-hero parenting powers! It's important to care for your physical and mental health, eat healthily, exercise, and get enough rest.
- Limit screen time:
Limiting screen time for yourself and your child can help reduce stress and improve your family's well-being. Set limits on screen usage and engage in other activities like reading, playing outdoors, or doing creative activities.
- Create a routine:
A routine can help bring structure and predictability to your daily life. Set a morning, evening, and weekend routine that works for your family. However, routines don't have to be rigid and remember to include fun things like bedtime stories, cuddle time and playtime with the kids.
- Be present:
When spending time with your child, put away distractions (phones, tablets, laptops) and be present. Give them your undivided attention, even if it's only for a short time.
- Practice self-care:
Practising self-care is crucial for your mental and physical health. Take some time to practice a hobby, meditate, or get a massage to relax and recharge. Remember, positive parenting strategies are only effective when you care for yourself too.
- Encourage responsibility:
Encourage your kid to take responsibility for their own tasks and chores; this will help them become more independent and reduce your to-do list! For example, teach your child to set out their clothes and kids shoes the night before. This will make getting ready for school the next morning much easier!
- Stay connected with your child's school:
Stay connected with your child's school, as this will help you stay informed about their academic and social progress. For example, ensure you attend parent-teacher meetings, assemblies and school plays. Being a part of your child's community is crucial if you want to remain in sync with their development.
- Have a positive attitude:
Maintaining a positive attitude can help you overcome any challenges and setbacks that come your way. Model a positive attitude for your child, and they will also learn to approach life with positivity.
- Celebrate small wins:
Celebrating small wins and accomplishments can help boost your family's morale and motivate everyone to keep going.
Being a working parent is both challenging and rewarding. Incorporate these useful working parent tips into your daily routine to create a healthy work-life balance while still being present for your child. When you communicate, plan, prioritize, and take care of yourself, it turns out it's entirely possible to be the effective and happy working parent you envisioned!