The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
Many parents that are working full-time jobs or taking on their own business are looking for ways to have a balanced schedule. Is there a way to include quality family time while also developing your skillset for your business? When it comes to finding easy ways to spend time with your family in the middle of a packed work week, there are plenty of opportunities – once you get the hang of time management. The important thing to remember is that while it’s possible, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution; instead, this plan is going to take plenty of trial and error runs and a good amount of communication between you and your family.
Unfortunately, parents aren’t provided with a “Parenting 101” textbook that magically provides all of the answers to creating a loving, functional family. Instead, it takes a lot of effort on everyone’s part to make the best out of their situation. If you’re busy with work or starting a business, this balance can feel even more difficult – which is why it’s going to take time to understand how to do it right. You can find more quality parenting resources from the online mental health professionals at BetterHelp here: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/parenting/.
When you’re looking to find an effective work-life balance strategy, “quality time” is one suggestion that will continuously pop up. However, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean forcing everyone into the living room for a random movie night or spending the weekend in a random city to explore the sites. Instead, you need to connect with your family and understand how everyone would like to spend time together. This will look different if you have young children, teenagers, or a mixture of ages, which means it may take some time to get a compromise. But that compromise is crucial.
In order to make effective quality time, take the opportunity to talk to everyone to see how they would like to spend their time. This is a great opportunity to talk about boundaries, budget limitations, and time constraints. It can help your children understand that while a cruise vacation isn’t necessarily on the table, you may be able to visit a water park or the beach as an alternative. Working together also counts as quality time because you’re spending the time making an effort to come to an agreement and make sure everyone is having a good time.
When balancing your schedule, you don’t need to just ask questions about quality time and how the family would like to spend their vacation or weekends together. In order to get used to communication, it’s important to create an environment where general questions are encouraged. Whether that’s in asking about the kid’s activities, what you do for work, or how they can see you more often, building that early communication can strengthen your relationship as a parent.
Getting into the habit of asking questions also helps encourage your children to open up to you about their emotions. One important way to balance your time is by taking into account what makes them feel stressed or uncomfortable. How do they feel about the time you come home from work? What do they think about you taking on a new overtime opportunity? By involving them in your efforts to balance your time, it shows your children that you have an interest in their opinion. Since you’re making this effort to balance your time between seeing them and being at work, it’s encouraging when you involve them in your plans and ask them what they think about your strategy.
Throughout these conversations, it’s important for everyone involved to communicate their limitations. Whether this is over a budget, the time you have available, or any boundaries and discomforts you have, it’s a good time to work through them as a family and create a safe and honest space to discuss these topics. Not only can it create a compassionate environment for your children to learn how to communicate their frustrations and challenges, but it can also provide you with the opportunity to teach them about respecting limitations and replacing disappointment with understanding.
There are some parents with younger children that may feel their kids don’t have the ability to understand limitations or challenges. Instead, consider these moments of communication like a lesson for children, similar to learning the ABCs or colors. Repetition is how a child learns and they absorb the emotions and responses of those around them. In order to teach them how to react in a disappointing situation or communicate their desires in a healthy and honest way, you can act as a role model.
As mentioned earlier, parenting isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor and takes plenty of mistakes, trials, and changes to get the right mixture for your unique family. As long as you continue to work together and communicate in order to find that balance, you can accomplish a healthy lifestyle that works for everyone involved.