Being a working parent can be really challenging. If you’re in the category, you’re not alone. Thousands of Nigerian parents have to cope with balancing their jobs and putting their families in order every single day of the week. To be effective at this, it’s important you develop a few daily habits and put some things in place.
Here are a few of them:
1. Create a schedule
Schedules can be overwhelming, but by using it, you make things a little easy. You missed your kids’ PTA because you simply forgot. Or you were halfway into the journey to pick up your kids from school, just to find out that your spouse has picked them. One of the fastest ways to lose control is to be blind-sided.
You can limit your risk by making sure you are on track every day. What does this mean? Put school calendars into your calendar; Know who is taking whom where. Check with your partner or your driver the day of an event to confirm; Make sure your children know where they are supposed to be when, and who is taking them. And make sure your children know to speak up!
2. Have backup Plan
Once in a while, things do not go as planned. Anything that can go wrong, and this can leave you in a confused state. One of your kids can develop a flu on the day you have fixed a board meeting. Your car can break down on a day you decided to drive your kids to school.
Because you’re not superhuman, you can’t plan for every possible contingency. But you can have backup systems in place, such as having back-up nannies in place or the ability to work from home when the kids are sick and an arrangement with a taxi service, so there is an alternate if something goes wrong with your car.
3. Separate work and parenting
If you decide to work some hours at home, be sure not to mix the two. Taking a conference call while helping your kids with homework is not advisable.
You may also have to switch off your phone as you arrive home, so as to ensure that you spend quality time with your children. Probably your work positions demand that you are on call all the time, you may have to decide to take urgent work calls after the kids have been put to bed.
4. Focus on kids during family time
Your quality time with your kids is precious. You’ve probably walked into a fast food restaurant, and seen a family with the parents on their phone, while the kids ate or played around. Family time is time spent with family, and it should be used for that purpose.
Make your kids know that you pay attention to them in positive ways. Put the phone down during dinner. It won’t kill. Listen when your kids talk, make meaningful conversations with them. Don’t let other things get in the way of this quality time.
5. Get the kids involved
As your kids grow up, teach them how to do simple chores. This would come in handy when you’re not home, as they’ll be able to help themselves. Let them learn how to heat up the stew at the right time, light the fire and make their tea when it’s time for breakfast.
By teaching your kids to be responsible for various chores, you are taking off some of the pressure and you are also helping them to become self-sufficient. Encouraging teamwork and responsibility is a great way to prepare them for living in the adult world. In teaching them, make it fun and creative, so they enjoy whenever they are doing it.
What else do you do to stay effective as a working parent? Tell us in the comments?