As a working parent whose kids are returning to school, you have a lot on your mind. You need to find ways to stay connected with your children while fulfilling your professional responsibilities. Although the integration is not easy, it can be done.
Three Ways to Maintain your Work Responsibilities While Supporting your Kids as they Return to the Classroom.
1. Schedule Time with Your Children
Set aside time to spend with your kids. This may involve volunteering in their classroom once a month and occasionally going on field trips with them. Or, you might take them to school or pick them up so you have additional time for conversations. Prioritize what matters most to you and them and find ways to make it happen.
2. Maintain Communication with Your Family
Keep the lines of communication open with your children. For instance, set aside time each night or week to devote to your family. This may take the form of sitting down to dinner and conversation every night. Or, when your children get older, you might have a weekly date night to reconnect individually. Remember that how you engage with your kids matters as much as providing the time and space to talk. For instance, teenagers typically do not want to answer a long line of questions. Instead, share what is happening in your world and be supportive of what is happening in theirs. Celebrate your family’s successes and hard work.
3. Frame Your Intentions with Your Team
Focus on your priorities, next steps, commitment to your job, and enthusiasm for your work when communicating with your colleagues and manager about your need to step out of the office for a personal activity. For instance, mention where you are going and when you should be back. Also, share which task you will focus on when you return and your positive feelings about it. Discussing your personal and professional plan typically resolves any concerns about making progress on your work. It also shows dedication to your team. For example, “I’m heading to my daughter’s ballet recital and will be back at 2:30. I’ll handle the marketing summary then. I can’t wait to get it in front of the client!”
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