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June 28, 2010

Back To Work Strategy #5-Quality Time

So the last hour before it's time to leave work is hard. I want to leave work so I can run home and spend time with my baby!!! I am sure some of you out there totally understand this. My friend Jen went back to work today and she echoed the same sentiment. I just want to hold my baby and play with him.

Here's the issue: as a working mom, when you're FINALLY home, you have to cook, eat and start the bedtime routine...so where is that quality time???

As much as possible, make a plan to have that quality time. Here are some strategies to get that time in.

#1--Ideally, if at all possible, shift your work schedule to have some more time with your baby. In some situations, it's not possible. (Mine being one since I work in a client centre!) But... you can discuss working a flexible schedule, working extra time some days to have an afternoon off. Even better: shifting your schedule to start earlier/finish earlier while your partner does the opposite. And... if you can make it work: part-time or even one day off a week!

#2--Cook ahead of time. Prepare the meal the night before so that when you get home you don't have to spend 30mins cooking. Instead you can read some stories and cuddle and play and then sit down for your meal.

#3--Make it actual Quality Time. Leave your housework, homework, the internet, venting about work and work work until after your little one is in bed. Give your child your undivided attention. If your child is at daycare, they will appreciate being held and read to. Sit with them, talk to them or take them out for a walk as long as you make them feel special. Talk to them, sing with them, smile at them, hold them, hug them and do something they love to do with you. Even though it might be short, make it special.

#4--Family dinner. Sit down together and eat as a family unit. Chat and make eye contact with your little one. This is a great opportunity to teach conversational skills and make your little one feel included and learn that they are a member of the family too. It's easy to just let your child eat and that's it. It's important to engage them. It might make dinner longer, but it's worth it.

#5--Bedtime Routine--whatever you did before you went back to work, try to keep it consistent but add more hugs and cuddles, possibly a massage. Sing and read to them. Make them feel special and loved before you put them down. This will help your little one feel secure--both the consistency of the routine and the hugs and love. Just holding your baby will make YOU feel better too--there is no better de-stresser than cuddling.

Finally, even though you may want to keep your little one up so that you can spend time with them...if they are tired and miserable, you are not spending quality time at all and no one will be happy. Respect their bedtimes no matter how hard that is to do.

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