You’ve been at home looking after your child, and now you’ve decided it’s time to get back to work. This can be challenging for many mothers, and also challenging for the child. The internal debate and guilt so many mothers feel can be alleviated by preparing your child for this transition.
This transition does not need to be difficult. When we know the day we need to return to the workforce, we can start letting our child know what is coming up and the adjustments that will be made.
We may need to find an appropriate daycare, preschool or after-school sitter and introduce our child to the place and people that will be caring for him or her. Spending some time at the center or with the carer allows the child to feel this person and place is safe and comfortable. It is often the unknown, feeling unsafe or insecure, that is the main issue with a child struggling to settle into a new environment.
Mom needs to smile and leave quickly when dropping off young children. If the child witnesses tears from mom, this can create a fear that something is wrong. If you have a young child in care, moms can call the carer or daycare during the day to check on their child. You can even ask to speak to your child via their phone if this assists to settle the child, knowing Mom is not far away. Tell your child you will be there soon to collect them and always spend some time to appreciate their work and activities they have undertaken when picking them up. Speaking to teachers and carers for any information they need to share with you is also wise.
Returning to work is a big transition. You and your child are entering into a new and different phase of life. There will be a period of adjustment for both of you. Setting a clear regimented routine each morning helps everyone to prepare for the day, without the pressure of rushing. When we can commence our day more relaxed and happy, our day is always more productive and stress-free. A few practice days to get up, ready and out the door is a terrific way to gauge the time you need to allow.
If your children are a little older and at school, then they may need to attend after-school care or a local carer’s home. It is wise to share your rules with the carer. Rules such as homework that needs to be complete preferably prior to you collecting the child. Rules that television or screen time is to be limited and more outside play is expected.
Spend active time engaging with your child after you pick up him or her. Talk about their day, listen to their stories, see their work or crafts. All they want is some time with you. Phones and social media can wait, even if there are work emails to answer. Interact with your child.
Article in Working Mother