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Balancing Act: How Parents in Non-Conventional Work Hours Can Still Make Time for Their Kids

Remember life before the Pandemic? Feels like a different life, doesn’t it?  As the world continues to change and evolve around us, our way or style of working has also changed. Those days of a 9 to 5 job  are long gone. As the corporate world saw a tectonic shift, people took on non-traditional working shifts. For most, it has been work-from-home, some moved to freelance work and some took up jobs in UK shifts or US shifts!

Picture this scenario – You have some friends over at your place and the conversation moves to the job scene. The different work shifts, extended work calls have had a huge impact on our family, especially the little ones. Working non-traditional shifts like UK shifts and US shifts has made it hard for Indian parents to balance work and family life. Work takes up a lot of time, sometimes the whole day, leaving parents with little time to spend with their families and children. This makes them feel stressed and guilty. See, time shared with children is important, and the amount and kind of time we spend with our children is a matter of huge research and studies. Spending time with kids affects their academic performance and intelligence, according to research.

Work schedules or working shifts (UK shifts and US shifts, for example)  are an important factor influencing work and family balance and family well-being. How does this impact  the status quo at home? Let’s find out.

  1. Stress – Working long or irregular hours may prevent a parent from spending as much time as they would like with their children, which can lead to feelings of guilt, stress, and even resentment.
  2. Tiresome – Thanks to non-traditional working shifts , If a parent is constantly exhausted or stressed as a result of their work schedule, they may not be as patient or engaged with their children as they would like to be.

A study published in a journal found that children whose parents worked non-standard hours were more likely to have behaviour problems. Issues like aggression and hyperactivity were more prevalent in children whose parents worked non- standard hours.

Here are some other issues that were highlighted:

  • Toddlers whose mothers work non-standard hours demonstrate worse sensory perception, memory, learning, problem solving, verbal communication, and expressive language.
  • Parents with non-traditional working shifts can engage in fewer pre-academic activities with children, such as reading books, telling stories, and practicing reading, writing, or math skills.
  • Parents’ variable schedules require irregular family mealtimes and child bedtimes that interfere with children’s healthy development. For young children, mothers with non-standard schedules must make inconsistent and poorer quality child care arrangements.

All this said and done, not all is lost, parents. With a little bit of planning, it is possible for you to make time (quality time) for the kids. Let us look at a few strategies that you could use to balance your hectic work-life and your family life. Let us work towards creating a loving and supportive family dynamic!

When with kids, make sure you are present with them both physically and mentally:  This would mean putting away your phones and laptops and focussing solely on spending quality time with your little ones. No matter how short the period, being fully invested in the child has a profound impact on the child. They do not feel ignored and feel loved.

Prioritise family time: We get it, the temptation to get more done is high. You may want to get as much done in the little time you have left after work hours. But remember, this leads to the child feeling neglected and unimportant! So, set aside a dedicated time for family. DUring that time, play games with them, or go out for a short walk. Doing this everyday will only strengthen the bond with your little munchkin and you. Not just that, think of all the memories that you will create each day that are going to last a lifetime 🙂

Different batch timings for kids: Many of you with non-traditional working shifts must be facing the challenge of different batch timings for kids. This makes it very difficult to spend time with your kids during weekdays, isn’t it? It is easier said than done, but try and make an effort to spend focused time with your children during weekends or plan your activities in a way that you are able to accommodate different batch timings.

Mealtime is familytime: Even if you work an unusual shift, making an effort to sit down and eat meals together can help your kids feel like they have a routine and a sense of stability. Want another tip? Try involving your little ones in the meal prep. There can’t be a more fun and engaging activity than spending time in the kitchen cooking up a storm.

Get creative with your schedule: This could mean making small changes to their work schedules so they can spend more time with their kids, or it could mean talking to their boss about more flexible work hours. Do consider sharing all household chores with your partner to free up some extra time for family activities. 

Remember that finding ways to maximize the time you have available is more important than striking a perfect balance between work and family life. Do not feel guilty about working in unusual shifts. We understand that it is often necessary for putting food on the table and (or) career advancement.

Hey parents, you know that every family is different and what works for one may not work for another. Hence, try several methods to see what works best for your family. Discussing strategies is fine, but the most important thing for you to do is to be present when you are with your children. Communicate openly with them, and do not hesitate to ask for help when you need it. After all, all of us want our little munchkins to feel loved, supported, and valued, no matter what our work schedule may be.

Eurokids, one of India’s finest preschools, has recently announced the launch of multiple shifts for the new academic year in 2023-24. With this launch, EuroKids, aims to provide parents with greater flexibility and choices when it comes to their child’s education. This initiative offers convenience and a big relief to all the parents and kids who prefer late morning or afternoon batches for their pre-schooling needs. This initiative also provides a solution for parents who have US shifts or UK shifts or non-traditional working shifts.

To know more, visit a Eurokids center near you!

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