Today, it is common to see a family where both parents work. Parents go above and beyond to provide for their children. Many parents work to meet their children’s basic needs, such as ensuring their financial stability, access to better healthcare, and quality education.1 A recent report from Employment Characteristics of Families Summary-2021 states that:
“Among married-couple families with children, 96.5 percent had at least one employed parent in 2021, and in 62.3 percent of these families both parents were employed.” 2
Parents significantly impact their child’s development. Working parents can influence their children positively and teach them practical life skills while providing for their financial needs. For instance, children can learn time management skills by closely observing how their parents manage their time. They learn to make their own decisions and advocate for themselves, becoming more self-sufficient and confident. 3
In some cases, however, children who may not have much interaction with their working parents may experience loneliness, social withdrawal, and mood swings.3 As they get older, the lack of quality time with their parents can increase their likelihood of having a strained relationship with them.3 While juggling work and home, being available for your child can be quite a task. However, being emotionally and physically invested in your child is critical for their positive development.4
So, how can working parents focus on their child’s development?
Here are a few pointers that can help you focus on your child’s development.5, 6, 7, 8
- Prioritize Quality Over Quantity of Time: Working parents frequently worry about not spending enough time with their children and how not being present for their child can affect their development. Don’t worry. Make an effort to prioritize quality time over quantity time. You can, for example, have a daily face-to-face connection with your child over a small walk or dinner, or set aside digital screens for a while and engage in a fun learning activity with them. Doing this can help instill in your child a sense of time value and excitement for more similar activities, which can strengthen your relationship with them. This can assist you as a parent in filling in any gaps and learning more about your child’s activities at home and in school.
- Enroll Your Child in Something New and Exciting: You can nurture your child’s interests by assisting them in finding a new hobby, such as learning to play the guitar or a new sport, or enrolling them in a new course, such as coding. Engaging in these activities can help them relax, build their self-confidence, improve their interpersonal skills, and form a personal identity, among other things.
- Look for Reliable Resources: On busy days, if possible, look for reliable resources such as having a trusted family member or friend at home so that your child can learn new things from them while having fun, engaging, and a great bonding time. Alternatively, while you are at work, you can plan and have your caregivers engage in some learning activities with your child.
- Create Some Family Routines: You can create some family routines to make life easier at home and give your child more time. You could ask your child to help you with household chores, such as making the bed when they wake up, setting the dinner table while you cook, or packing their bag for school the next day. It can also help you reinforce some discipline at home and use the time saved for an activity like reading a bedtime story to your child.
- Try to Share the Responsibilities With Your Partner: If possible, discuss and create a working copy of your schedules so that you and your partner can share the workload and spend quality time with your child. For example, suppose you are working overtime. In that case, you can ask your partner to assist with housework and child care, or if you have a busy time at home doing chores, your partner can take your child to the park and have that one-on-one connection about their day at school, friends in the neighborhood, or a new thing that they learned.
When you can, try the aforementioned tactics, and remember to spend quality time with your child.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is NOT medical advice and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, provide medical or behavioral advice, treat, prevent, or cure any disease, condition, or behavior. You should consult with a qualified healthcare professional regarding your child’s development to make a medical diagnosis, determine a treatment for a medical condition, or obtain other related advice.
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- What are the advantages of both parents working? | HowStuffWorks. (2021). Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://lifestyle.howstuffworks.com/family/parenting/parenting-tips/advantages-both-parents-working.htm
- Employment Characteristics of Families Summary – 2021 A01 Results. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/famee.nr0.htm
- Pros and Cons of Both Parents Working | Parent Herald. (2022). Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://www.parentherald.com/articles/102418/20200522/pros-cons-both-parents-working.htm
- Investing In Your Children – Forbes India Blogs. (2017). Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://www.forbesindia.com/blog/accidental-investor/investing-in-your-children/
- Tips for Spending Quality Time With Your Child | NAEYC. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/spending-quality-time-with-your-child
- Amerijckx, G., & Humblet, P. (2015). Uses and perceived benefits of children’s recreational activities: the perspectives of parents and school professionals. International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/S40723-015-0013-Z
- Heinrich Carolyn J. (2014). Parents’ Employment and Children’s Wellbeing. Spring , 24(1). https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1029033.pdf
- A Guide for Working (From Home) Parents. (2020). Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://hbr.org/2020/03/a-guide-for-working-from-home-parents