Parents today, more and more, parent together. So when an employee, male or female becomes a parent, they will want to access flexible working arrangements to accommodate their new reality.
In an article in the Globe and Mail, Leah Eichler says, “while many women seek a balance between their work and personal lives, increasingly, so do men.”
And so we see more options for parents to be productive and work and at home. And the reality it, the better the arrangements for the employee, the more productive they are. So everybody wins.
But, there is another step that is often missing and that is support and skills training for the parent. The more parents know about child raising them more effective they are in the workplace.
For example, a parent who has a good handle on how to motivate a toddler in the morning will have a more relaxed time and arrive at work focused and ready to tackle the day’s assignments. If the morning, however, is a series of mishaps making getting Junior fed, dressed and off to daycare a nightmare, the parent employee will arrive frazzled.
Great@Home –Great@Work is a program designed for family friendly workplaces to offer the answers to parenting problems. The following article is the sort of resource which you can use to support the parents in your workplace to arrive at the office or plant ready to work.
What’s the Plan?
An average morning in many households will see parents trying
• to wrestle two-year-old Justin into his clothing,
• to help eight-year-old Melissa find her backpack,
• to stay cool while eleven-year-old Nicola decides what to wear, and
• to get sixteen-year-old Julian out of bed.
One of the most effective ways to deal with getting yourself and your children out of the house, off to school and work in a good mood is to plan. And now’s the time to think of it. Be proactive.
What is your plan for making school day mornings positive?
Think about it. How were your mornings last year? Did you and the kids leave the house calm, happy and on-time? Or was it a madhouse of yelling, running late and madly trying to find backpacks?
Okay, I know. It was somewhere in between and the image of every morning being one of bliss and tranquility is a nice picture, a great goal and not likely to happen every day. But, what’s wrong with trying?
Children function best when there is a routine. Even your teens, who are particularly grumpy in the morning, benefit from a plan. As a matter of fact, the more you hate mornings, no matter what your age, the easier it can be with a plan. Then you can simply sleepwalk through the steps and at the end of it walk out the door ready to face the day.
There is no right routine, only the one that works best for you.
Many families find that doing some preparation in the evening is a lifesaver. Having breakfast ready to go, cereal and bowls on the table, coffee ready at the flick of the switch, and juice ready to pour.
The same works with lunch. Having all the ingredients ready to be put together for lunch beats staring at the fridge trying to figure out what to prepare. School-age kids can make their own lunch with some guidelines about the variety of foods they need select.
You can lay out clothing the night before and have backpacks filled and waiting at the door.
Get up a bit earlier. Get up, shower and dress in quiet and comfort before the children are out of bed. The few minutes of lost sleep are worth it. You may even get to have your coffee before you leave for work.
Leave the TV turned off. Kids do not need to watch TV before they head to school. It’s distracting and causes them to want to sit and watch rather than get ready for the day. I have heard of some families who play rousing music in the morning to get everyone going.
There are lots of little ways to make mornings work for you. Think about your family, think about the morning moments that are pure hell and then plan to avoid those moments.
Involve the whole family in the plan and be prepared to make adjustments in the first weeks of school.
It won’t be perfect. But, you can decide that you are going to arrive at work in a good mood ready to work and your children are likewise going to head to school in a good mood ready to learn.