Parenting Tips For Working Moms: Seven Ways To Strengthen The Parent-Child Bond
Although it may seem ideal, being a stay-at-home mom may not be a practical solution for many. The good news is, you don't need to be home 24/7 to be pro-active in your child's life. You can balance parenting with a career and produce a loving relationship with your kids. Here are seven ways a working mom can enhance her relationship with her children:
1. Organize Family Time
Place a dry-erase board on the wall and use it to organize weekly activities dedicated to family time. Set aside one or two days a week to spend with your children. Plan day trips, a visit to the zoo, a backyard barbecue or family game night. Change it up to keep it interesting and fun.
Make your children part of the planning by encouraging them to offer their own suggestions for the next "family day". It gives a child a sense of belonging and importance if he or she can help plan the activities. Planning in advance will enable you to spend quality time with your children.
2. Converse at Dinner Time
Make dinner time a time for sharing. As every successful parent knows, communication is the key to a healthy relationship and well-adjusted kids. Dinner time is the perfect time for talking about how your child's day went. Ask him or her open-ended questions at the dinner table to encourage discussion.
It's important to communicate your own feelings and activities to your children as well. Tell your children how your day went and what you do at work. It will make them feel closer to you.
3. Establish a Bedtime Ritual
Even if your child is "too old" to tuck in at night, you can still establish a routine. An hour before bedtime, turn off the TV and computer. Share a bedtime snack and conversation about the upcoming day. Read a short story to your child, or have him or her read one to you.
4. Offer Loving Words and a Warm Embrace Every Day
Even when you're limited on time, tell your child "I love you" each and every day. Hug your child before sending him or her off to school. Leave a loving note in your child's lunchbox to remind him or her you're never far away. If your child has a cell phone, text him or her during the day just to say "I love you".
These little gestures can go a long way in strengthening ties and reassuring your child that mom is thinking of him or her throughout the day.
5. Enforce Structure and Rules
You can't foster a healthy relationship without a sense of structure. A child needs rules and a structured lifestyle to feel secure, especially when mom is at work. Establish guidelines, and stick to your guns in terms of consequences for breaking the rules. You won't earn your child's love and respect if you give in every time.
6. Make Time for Yourself
This may seem like you're defeating the purpose, but setting aside time for yourself, even if only 15 minutes a day, can help you be a better parent. Do something relaxing to unwind after work.
You might soak in the tub for 20 minutes, listen to soothing music or read a book. These moments focused on you will help reduce anxiety, making you less likely to be resentful or irritable with the kids. It's a start to better parenting.
7. Seek Outside Intervention If Necessary
For complicated issues in dealing with parenting, don't be shy about seeking counsel. Utilize the skills of parenting therapists trained in helping parents and children maintain healthy relationships. If your child has exhibited disruptive behavior since you've returned to work, you might find therapy to be of help. This counseling is sometimes referred to as parent-child interaction therapy.
In conclusion, remember this: The quality time you spend with your children is not measured by hours and minutes. Listening to your children, and offering encouragement, praise and daily affection doesn't require extensive time. It's the best way to nurture your relationship and maintain a strong family unit.