10 Ideas for Creating a Healthy Work and Parenting Balance

December 31, 2020 | by kevin gardner, guest contributor

Parenting and working are both full-time jobs. When you mix them, there does not seem to be enough hours in the day. However, these great tips can help you gain the balance you are craving.

1. Honor Your Sleep

Sleep is just as important as eating and breathing. Our cognitive abilities during the day depend on getting a good night’s rest. It is difficult to be present with anyone if we are sleep deprived. Staying up too late can rob us of the advantages awarded when we prioritize sleep. Designate a time to catch those Zzzs and honor the one thing that will help you feel mentally strong and ready to tackle a day at the office and with the family.

2. Make Time for Yourself 

We often get frustrated when others demand our time. Getting up a little bit earlier to read, write, exercise, or meditate will help you feel energized. Connecting with yourself is necessary. Everyone will appreciate your happiness and ability to be present. A stressed-out parent is never good for our family or coworkers.

3. Take Advantage of the Commute

When work is finished, take the transition time from work to home to quiet your mind. Listen to relaxing music, call a friend, listen to an engaging podcast or decompress in silence. But do not use this time to conduct business or hash out a workplace problem; the stress and energy created during the day can be brought home. Giving yourself those designated minutes of calm can help you transition and put you in the mindset of family time.

4. Designate a Family Game Night

Games are a blast and a great way to have some family fun. Kids love games. Putting time aside, even if it is just once a week, creates lasting memories.

5. Rotate Saturday Activities

Give everyone a chance to choose an activity to do on a Saturday, and rotate Saturdays throughout all members so that everyone has a chance to choose. Maybe someone wants to check out a new park, make pancakes, have a picnic or go to a museum. This gives everyone a voice to share what they love to do.

6. Give Everyone a Dinner Job

Dinners can be hectic and often straddle the zone of work and family time. However, it is a great opportunity to invite togetherness. If your kids are older, they can help cook. If the kids are younger, they can help you mix, put in pre-measured ingredients, and set the table. Kids love to eat what they cook and allowing them to help in the kitchen gives them a sense of pride, and even better, it gives them time with you.

7. Turn off Electronics

Turn off the phones and tablets at dinner. Aim to keep them off as long as realistically possible. This is a start to gaining back the time we once had as families.

8. Ask Growth-Minded Questions

We often emphasize achievements and spend time talking about successes and grades. The pressure to achieve can be stressful. However, our days are filled with life lessons, from spotting acts of kindness to making mistakes. Ask growth-minded questions. Sharing your own mistakes and acts of kindness create intimate conversation opportunities.

  • What did you like most or least about today? 
  • What mistake did you make today? Was it funny or more serious? What did you learn from it? 
  • Who showed you kindness today? 

9. Get Crafty

A great way to recharge is to let your creativity flow. Get out the paints and crayons. Whatever you choose, it is a process to help you think about something other than work. Create family art to put up around the house or to take to your office.

10. Schedule Time to Connect with Each Member

One-on-one time is special and tells the other person that you value them. Schedule date nights with your significant other and schedule special time with each child. A trip to get ice cream or just reading a book together can be memorable.

How we spend our time is a choice. Implementing just a few of these will help create the time and balance you deserve as a working parent.

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