Being a parent is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. It is also one of the most challenging. There are many things to think about and decisions to make. One of the decisions you will have to make is what kind of schedule you will keep. If you have a non-traditional schedule, there are some things you can do to be a good parent, even though your schedule may be different from other parents.
Here are some tips for being a good parent even when you have a non-traditional schedule:
Parenting is Partnership
Communicate with your child’s other caregiver about your schedules. You must be on the same page about when your child will be with each of you.
In the event of a divorce, you will need to have a parenting plan that outlines when the child will be with each parent. This is important so that there is no confusion about when the child should be where. It is best to consult with your child custody lawyer to figure out how to work with your schedule without compromising the time you should spend with your child.
If you are in a situation where you are sharing custody with the other parent, it is important to communicate with them about your schedules. You will need to work together to figure out a schedule that works for you and your child.
A Regular Routine for Your Child
You may not have a regular schedule, but your child should have a consistent routine. Children thrive on routines. In fact, it is essential for their overall well-being. If a child has a consistent routine, they know what to expect. This can help reduce stress and anxiety.
A consistent routine will also help your child sleep better. A regular bedtime routine can help a child wind down and prepare for sleep. A routine also teaches them responsibility and helps them develop a sense of order. Moreover, if you are going through a divorce, consistency can help them feel more at ease throughout the challenging process.
You do not have to be present 24/7 to build a routine. If you have the time, you can read them a bedtime story every night through a phone or in-person. You can also call them in the morning as soon as you wake up for a short chat to start their day.
Even if your schedule is different every day, try to create some consistency for your child by having certain activities happen at the same time every day. For example, make sure meals happen at roughly the same time every day, and that bedtime is always at the same time each night.
Be Flexible Where Possible
Even if you have a non-traditional schedule, there will be times when your child needs you, and you need to be there for them. Their school graduations, birthdays, and other important events should always precede your work schedule.
If you have a flexible job, try to work around your child’s schedule as much as possible. If you can work from home, do so on days when your child has activities or appointments. Make sure you are taking advantage of your company’s flexible work policy.
Schedule Some Bonding Time
Set aside some quality time each week just for your child. This quality time doesn’t have to be long, but it should be consistent. During this time, focus solely on your child and on doing something together that they enjoy. You are not allowed to take any work calls during these periods or do paperwork while your child plays beside you. This is the time for you to be fully present with your child and to connect with them.
This quality time will help strengthen your bond and give them something to look forward to each week despite having a non-traditional schedule.
Find Comfort in Knowing That You are Not Alone
Talk to other parents in similar situations. It can be helpful to talk to other parents with similar schedules as yours and get ideas about how they make it work for their family. You can also find comfort in knowing that you are not the only one in this situation.
Being a parent with a non-traditional schedule comes with its own set of challenges, but it is possible to be a good parent even when your schedule isn’t the same as other parents’ schedules. By communicating with your child’s caregiver, creating (and sticking to) a routine, being flexible when needed, setting aside quality time each week, and talking to other parents in similar situations, you can be the best parent you can be, even if your schedule isn’t traditional.