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How To Survive As A Working Parent

By Amie Porter

Basic Tips

1. Communicate with your babysitter, nannies or au pair, mother's help to keep up-to"date.

Make as much time as possible to talk to your child care provider. If you can keep the lines of communication open beyond the rush, you'll have a much better feeling about your child's development and well being.

2. Don't get wound up by small issues.

If your child only wants to eat burgers every day, let him eat them. He will outgrow this phase. Providing the child is not harming itself (getting over-weight etc.) or someone else by the behaviour just let it go.

3. Be flexible and open to new ideas and options

If you have an early morning meeting and it takes your child an hour to decide what to wear in the morning, consider letting them sleep in their clothes. They will think it's fun and you'll be at work on time.

4. Be honest and up front with your child about going to work and leaving them with the babysitter, nannies or au pair, mother's help

Explain that you have to work, encourage the child to ask questions of the carer. Be enthusiastic about the carer as your attitude will shape your child's expectations and experiences. Remember research proves that children benefit from trusting relationships with more than one caregiver. The research has shown that babies with more than one attachment are less distressed when mother leaves for work, they are more playful and content in the presence of other adults, and are less distracted at the birth of a sibling.

5. Don't panic or feel guilty when your child cries when you leave Young children don't understand what "I'll be back later" means. As your child grows older, she will begin to understand that you'll return for her at the end of the day. With older children, reassure them that you'll return. Never sneak away. You're trying to build your child's trust, not break it down. Remember that childcare can be great for your child, as your child will benefit from personal attention, interactions with other children and age-appropriate educational programs that will be great preparation for school. Research shows that children who receive good quality childcare tend to be ahead of other children both intellectually and developmentally. Research also shows that children in childcare show the same degree of attachment to their mothers and the same amount of security as children with mothers who stay home. Remember if working makes you happy, you're children will be happier. Working mothers who like their jobs have better personal adjustments, are happier, and are less depressed than full-time mothers, even those who prefer being at home. Depressed mothers naturally have depressing effects on their children.

6. Accept help

When your relative or neighbour offers to baby-sit the children or pick them up from school or childcare, let them. They wouldn't offer if they didn't mean it.

7. Keep duplicates of "vital stuff"

Extra blankets, nappies, clothes, and dummies will come in handy in a panic.

8. Get organized

Plan ahead, menus for the week so you can cook extra so there are leftovers, pack the baby's bag the night before. Generally working parents are organised. For example, working mothers spend the same amount of time in direct interaction with their children as full-time mothers. Employed mothers spend as much time reading to and playing with their children as those at home, although they do not spend as much time simply in the same room.

9. Abandon the idea of the perfect home

Perfectly clean house, nutritionally balanced meals, clean well-dressed children, and a fantastic career is an impossible standard that will cause you unnecessary strain. Give yourself a break and concentrate on what's important. Get in a cleaner, mother's help to help you with the laundry, house-cleaning, and household work. It will be money well spent. Fast food and ready meals are not poisonous.

10. Occasionally pamper yourself with me time

Consider lighting some candles or josh sticks, put in some bath oil and grab your favourite magazine. As most kids hate the bathroom you should be undisturbed.

11. Plan time without the kids.

Eat some chocolates, read the newspaper or a book, go to a movie, visit a new restaurant, or go to a museum and relieve some stress. Escape.

12. Go on a course.

There are many courses to assist with everything from cookery, through home economics to child psychology

How To Choose Quality Child Care

1. Is the carer trained and/or experienced?

2. Have you spoken in person or got reports on at least one (preferably two) parents who've used the carer and said good things about her or him?

3. Does the carer respond to your child as an individual and communicate well with you? Are you and your child happy and appreciated?

4. Is she or he willing to help you continue your child's routine with things such as sleep, food or any special needs?

5. Is she willing to fit in with your ideas on discipline, toilet teaching, sweets and other issues?

6. Does she or he obviously like children and enjoy caring for them?

Copyright Amie Porter

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