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Childcare tips for working parents!
Aaruna Jain |
April 15, 2005
As part of our commitment to our young parents, Get Ahead presents a guide to childcare for working couples. This is the first in an ongoing series.
ou are a working couple. You decided to work perhaps because you need to work or because you want to work.
Your motive is simple: you want the best for your child.
Slowly, your ambitions, work pressures and circumstances prevail.
This affects your family life in little ways -- you have no time for your child, no time to cook, no time for your husband.
But here is something you must know: your child's real needs will not be fulfilled by money alone.
Spend time with your child. Watch him/her grow. Be an active part of that growing process!
The first question you both must ask is: do both of us really, really need to work? Are we putting our personal priorities ahead of our children?
If not, decide on the following:
i. Who among the two should work. Traditionally, it would be the male. But, of course, it depends on both of you.
ii. Check if one of you can get a part-time job.
iii. Try and get a job that can be managed from home.
iv. Can you go on long leave from your present job? You need to check about that.
If both of you decide to work, here are certain measures you will need to take:
Note: Compensating with gifts and overindulgence on weekends will not help.
Making your child believe this is the way life is. It will make things easier for all of you.
~ When grandparents are at home
Having grandparent/s at home with the help of a maid may be the best solution for your child.
Children tend to feel safer and more secure in their own homes. They find it easier to move along and their psychological needs are satisfied since they are the centre of attention.
i. Keep a part-time maid to take care of the physical tasks. They are too taxing for your elderly parents.
ii. Make charts of rules/ schedules/ medicine timings (if applicable), so that nobody forgets things.
iii. Keep a list of emergency telephone numbers, in bold, near the phone. Also keep a list of first-aid instructions, if your child is small.
iv. Make sure your home is child safe -- close all balconies; no sharp tools and dangerous liquids/ tablets, or small objects like marbles lying around; ensure your door has a safety lock.
v. Keep healthy snacks, good food, activity materials, daily stationery, clean and neat clothes available and within reach. This way, your child will find it easier to do things independently.
vi. If things go wrong once in a while, do not blame or criticise your parent/s. Work out a solution to avoid it in future
vii. Work out a positive relationship by ignoring certain things, especially if the carer is your mother-in-law.
viii. Avoid asking your child or the maid what went wrong during the day in your absence and who was responsible for them. It does not help things, and has an adverse effect in the long run.
ix. Use smart methods to judge and correct the situation.
x. As far as possible, give advance notice of your changed schedules, travel plans or latecoming. Unpredictable acts may harm your child's psyche.
~ Crèche or babysitter care
i. Select the right place, even if it is at a distance away from your home/ workplace.
The crèche next door, though convenient, may not be really suitable for your darling child.
ii. Select a person or crèche with a reputation; consider others' experiences with them.
iii. Study the carer's body language and viewpoints on various matters. Ascertain whether they will handle your child with care or not.
iv. Check whether the place is child-friendly, clean and maintains general hygiene.
v. Check whether child safety measures of all kinds are in place.
If the carer is simple, kind and loving, but unaware of child safety, please educate the carer.
Encourage and make her do the necessary modifications in the house and demonstrate certain measures.
vi. Make random checks to ensure your child is engaged in meaningful activity and is eating food properly
vii. Make sure that they are not sent out for a shopping trip or elsewhere through the day.
viii. Make sure you give a schedule to follow -- rest/ reading/ study/ play time.
ix. If your child has to attend hobby or study classes, make proper arrangements. Do not deprive your children from attending such classes because they are at the babysitter's.
x. Get to know parents of the other children who are attending. You can build a positive group together and children will feel more comfortable with each other.
xi. Keep a watchful eye. Demand for supervision of the right kind. Teach you child to take care of himself/ herself and to keep a safe distance from others.
Aaruna Jain has 22 years of experience in counselling. She holds an MA in Family and Child Welfare from the Tata Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She now consults as a counsellor at the Indian School, Muscat.