Are you a working mom? You are not alone. “Over 71% of women with children work,” according to The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. Of those, 64.2% of them have children under the age of six.
In May, The Pew Research Center reported that, for the first time, 40% of American households have breadwinner moms acting as either the sole or primary source of income for the family. Of those, “5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands.”
As we continue to see such changes in the job force, moms and dads struggle to find ways to stay bonded to their children despite hectic and demanding work schedules.
However, employed mothers and fathers can stop worrying that their absence will affect their young children’s development. A UK study reported in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health revealed that children of working parents will not suffer emotionally, socially, or have more behavioral problems than children who have stay-at-home parents.
Yet, many of today’s parents are tethered to their offices and when home to their devices and believe that they never have the time necessary to truly connect with their children. Here are six things mothers and fathers can do to keep connections to their children strong.
6 Ways Working Parents Can Build a Bond with Their Children:
- Secure your boundaries. Make the time you spend with your children, no matter how short, sacrosanct. Keep your work-home boundaries secure by asking a boss what his expectations are for you to respond to e-mails and alerts when you are at home. Avoid work related phone calls and messages, interruptions, and other distractions in the special time you reserve for your children.
- Choose the right caregivers. Prioritize hiring caregivers who create a safe, secure environment. The caregiver’s values and expectations for your child should be similar to yours in terms of expected behavior and he or she follows the rules and boundaries you set.
- Be present. When you are home, be sure to listen and pay attention to what your children tell you.
- Monitor yourself. Don’t try to make up for your time away by being extra indulgent or feel you have to be a constant playmate.
- Build traditions. Rituals such as reading a book together or having a young child set the table while you prepare dinner will establish and build traditions you share. Young children like routines even if they take only a few minutes because they foster a sense of family.
- Express yourself. Remind your child that you love him and that he is very important to you. Make it a practice to say, “I love you,” at least a few times a day.