By Raising Children Network
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  • Hey dads


    Read info and watch short videos especially for dads, or meet other fathers in the discussion forum.

    For Fathers

Returning to work after you become a parent is an exciting step and there’s lots to think about, including how you’ll fit in the extra responsibilities. These tips can help you get the most out of your time at home and at work.

At home

  • Making any changes before you start work makes things easier. One way to do this is to think about what your new daily routine will be like and whether there are things you can start doing now to ease the transition, like trialling a new child care routine or finding a backup carer.
  • Talk with family, friends and carers about your plans. They might have ideas for saving time or for helping you spot potential problems before they arise.
  • Try to leave work distractions at work. Now that you have less time with your baby, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have together.
  • Planning some family time can be the secret to catch-ups. This can be a real help if you find your work responsibilities are making it harder for your family to spend time together.
  • Doing what you can the night before makes life easier. Things like laying out clothes or making lunches all make the morning less of a rush.
  • Some food and cooking shortcuts might help. For example, you could try cooking more than you need and freezing leftovers for future meals. This is one way of spending less time at the stove. Many supermarket magazines also have quick and easy recipes that take less than half an hour to make.

When you’re working

  • Sticking to a routine helps children know what to expect. Research also shows that it helps them to behave better. Read more about how routines can help your children.
  • Visiting your child in care helps you both cope with your new work routine. You and your child might both feel strange about spending more time apart. Popping in for quick visits in the first week or so after you return to work will help you both adapt.
  • Tackling any questions or worries about your child’s care quickly means they are less of a distraction. Talk to your child’s carer if you have any concerns or are looking for ideas to help the transition. If you let things stew, they can take up valuable brain space you’ll need at work!
  • Developing a relationship with your child’s carer can really cut down on stress. Doing simple things like letting carers know how much you appreciate their care can encourage a good relationship between you and the carers. It also means they’ll be more likely to keep you informed of how your child’s going.
  • Let your carer know if you need to change your schedule.
  • Having a backup carer for your child reduces pressure. Somebody who can help out at short notice and who you feel comfortable with is the key. Some options are friends, parents from playgroup, grandparents, other relatives and partners.
  • Have a backup plan for when your child gets sick. Decide in advance how you can tackle or share this responsibility. For example, if you have a partner, one of you might be able to work from home for a day or so to mind your child. Or you might need to find somebody else who can help out with emergencies.
  • Grab the chance to relax and unwind when you can. This will help your stress levels and overall happiness. If you can, taking public transport to work can be a great way to have some time to read or listen to music without anyone bothering you. During your lunch break, take a walk around the park, do some window shopping, go to the gym, have coffee with a friend or read a book – whatever it takes to have some ‘me time’.
  • Taking your child or family to work social occasions can also have benefits. Your colleagues will appreciate your situation more if they meet your family.
  • Last updated or reviewed 08-08-2011