Post-covid parenting challenges: Here’s how fathers can navigate work and family time

4 min read

Jul 09, 2024 07:32 PM IST

Fatherhood and work-life balance: Expert tips for managing both

Psychological research has shown that fathers’ engagement with their children results in better social, emotional and cognitive development however, parenting in the recent years has become challenging because of reduction in the number of joint families and increased social media usage in kids post Covid-19, making balance between work and parenting difficult. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Abhishek Chopra, Consultant Neonatologist and Paediatrician at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals in New Delhi’s Punjabi Bagh, suggested the following strategies to improve the work-parenting balance –

Post-covid parenting challenges: Here’s how fathers can navigate work and family time (Image by pch.vector on Freepik)

1. Time management

  • Make a list of your tasks, prioritise it and finish the most crucial ones earliest.
  • Avoid Procrastination – Delay in tasks can lead to last minute hustles eating up the family time.
  • Digital tools and apps can be used in scheduling and reminding the tasks.
  • Reduce wastage of time- Try to limit the usage of television and social media and dedicate this time to family.

2. Try to make clear boundaries

  • Dedicated work hours- Try to stick to the work timings as much as feasible. Once at home, try to be away from work unless deemed necessary.
  • Minimise distractions- When working try to just focus on the work and when with family stay away from the gadgets and resist the temptation to check your emails or whats app incessantly.
  • Let your clients and coworkers know your work hours.

3. Share responsibilities

Split household chores and child rearing tasks. Considering help for household tasks is also a reasonable option but always teach children to perform their own household chores.

4. Trust your team members

“Always on “ mentality can be hard to escape but trust in your team members when you are not there.

5. Prioritise quality time our quantity times

Give your time whole heartedly to kids whenever with them . eg. spending 2 hours with kids but having checked your gadget several times will be less fruitful compared to spending just a hour dedicated entirely to the kids and playing with them and relishing the quality time.

6. Communicate with the employer

Talk to your employer regarding parenting commitments with most now employers nowadays empathetic towards needs of working parents. Work from home options and flexi hours can be used on certain days.

7. Save extra work for when kids are not around

When you do need to bring work at home, try to do that around your family’s schedule. Try to work later in evening when kids have gone to bed or get upearlier before everyone is awake.

8. Have a ritual or routine to mark physical, mental and emotional move from work to home. It can be as simple as changing out of your work clothes.

9. Changing your perspective on work

Take a moment in workday to think about your children. This could be just looking at a family photo or thinking about special things you have done together recently. Take your child/family to social occasions. This can be fun for you and your child.

10. Self care is not selfish

  • Take out sometime for yourself. A burnt out parent is neither productive at work nor at home.
  • Engage in activities that rejuvenate you, be it a hobby, exercise r even a short nap.

11. Stay connected with your child

  • Take a few minutes every day to chat with your child about their day, concerns or joys.
  • Attend as many school events or functions as you can. Your presence means a lot to them.

12. Seek support

  • Join parent support groups. They can be a rich source of advise and they understand your struggles.
  • Lean on family and friends when needed. A shared burden is lightened burden.

Balancing work and parenting is a challenging task but with the right strategies it is achievable. It is all about managing your time, setting clear boundaries and having quality interaction with your children. At the end of day, the aim is to be there for your child and relish the beauty of parenthood without being burdened by the stress of work.

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