A mother who works full-time in the office usually spends eight hours a day there. If you include the time travelling to and from the office, she is likely to be away from her children almost 10 hours a day. With precious little time for her children, she may succumb to feelings of guilt and feel that she is unable to stay connected with them.
In a society where financial needs outweigh the idealistic notion of staying home with the children, we offer parents 5 useful tips to stay in touch with their children daily.
Stay connected with your kids
1. Make use of gadgets and technology to connect with your child. By age 4, most kids know how to dial a phone. Give them permission to call you if work permits it. If they are out and about a lot (at school, for enrichment classes or visiting friends), consider getting them a mobile phone. You can get a student plan from any of the major telecommunications service provider – SingTel, M1 or Starhub.
If work does not permit you to call, you and your child can exchange text messages. If your child is still young, you can set up a webcam at home, and teach your child’s caregiver how to use it so you can at least have some face time with your son or daughter.
If your child is older (age 9 and above) or if you travel for work, take advantage of social media networks like Facebook and Skype to keep you updated on what is happening at home.
While we are fortunate to live in the digital age, be sure you take proper measures to ensure your child’s safety online.
2. Schedule a specific time everyday when you can connect with your child. This could be when you are having a lunch break in the office or after your child’s school hours. When you are at home, try to leave work aside and focus on giving all your attention to your child. Talk with them while preparing meals or doing household chores; make these your bonding moments. Pooja Sherwani, a banker and mother of 2 girls, specifically hired a tutor to help with her daughters’ school work so she could have bonding moments with her girls, 6 and 9 when she comes home from work.
3. Create a special drop box in the house where you and your child can leave notes or anything for each other. This can be a box on a table or a board attached to the wall where you place a note, letter or picture for your child. The note or letter may be about anything you want to tell your child, and also where your child can leave a reply to your note or letter. We highly recommend this mode of communication for those mothers and children who have exceptionally busy individual lives, but can stay connected with each other this way.
4. Communicate with your child’s care providers or teachers. If you make a call to your child’s teacher, it should be brief and it should be during a time when there are no classes or activities. If your child is at home with a babysitter, ask a few things about what your child is doing, what she has eaten, or give instructions etc.
5. Set aside days off from work as family days. On the days when you do not have to work, try to leave them in the office (we know it’s hard but try). Do not go to the office when you are supposed to have a day off. Designate these off days for your kids and family. You have already spent five or six days a week in the office, it would not be fair to your child if you still work for the remaining days of the week. Your days off is a time when you can sit, relax and enjoy with your children.
Also read: Time management tips for working mum