Did you know that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 80% of families in the US had at least one employed family member in 2020? This data comes from the Current Population Survey, which is sent out monthly to about 60,000 US households.
Additionally, many families in the US include two parents who are working while raising children.
If you’re among this sector of the US population, then you know how challenging it can be to raise children as two working parents.
It’s like being between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, you want your kids to be raised well, with enough attention as possible. On the other hand, your dual income is necessary to support your family.
Fortunately, there are many strategies you can use to raise your children well while still spending a lot of time at work.
In this parenting guide, we’ll review all the parenting tips you can use to raise your children as two working parents.
Finally, you can balance your work responsibilities and with the needs of your children. Read on to learn more.
Choose the Right Type of Care for Your Kids’ Age
First of all, you need to choose the right type of care for your kids’ age. If your children are in pre-school, then they need a type of childcare that can accommodate their needs for many hours of the day, nearly the entire day.
Additionally, the people working at the childcare center will need to be well-versed in what your child needs since they are early on in their development.
For preschool children, it’s important that they feel they are in a nurturing environment.
For this reason, it may be smart to have them stay with family members some of the time in addition to the time they spend at a childcare center.
It may also be worth having your children spend some time at your own home with a caretaker there, combined with being in daycare. This will make very young children feel safe and secure.
If your children are in school already, then you have a bit more flexibility. Many schools offer care before and after school.
Additionally, many daycares offer these types of services, and you can be sure your children will enjoy their time there.
Once your child is in daycare, don’t forget to get feedback from your child about how things are going at the daycare. This way, you can decide if it’s still the right fit for them and how well they’re doing when they’re away.
If you aren’t sure where to start, check out this resource on what to look for in the best daycares.
Get Help From the Grandparents
When you’re both working parents raising kids, you’re presented with the challenge that you need someone to take care of them when you’re away at work. Additionally, you might worry about them learning the lessons they need to as your children.
After all, when it comes to disciplining them and making sure they have the right values like being polite, it can be difficult to find someone who’s an authority figure in their lives who can ensure this happens.
This is why it can be so helpful to get help from their grandparents. Your parents have your children’s best interests at heart and will take care of them while also educating them.
Additionally, your children will benefit from being close to their family members. This is an important value to teach your children. There’s also the added benefit that your parents will want to spend time with their grandkids.
It’s the perfect balance of proper care and nurturing loving.
Discuss Options With Your Partner
Even though both you and your partner are working parents, you might be able to come up with a solution where you’re able to find a balance of how much time you spend with your children in addition to putting them into daycare.
For example, let’s say that your partner has a little more flexibility at the office. Maybe they’re able to leave work a little earlier to pick up the kids from school or can take Fridays off.
If this is the case, then that partner can spend a bit more time with the child. To make things fair, you can pick up more family and parenting tasks over the weekend.
So, if you’re at the office all week and can’t see to many of your children’s needs, then you could do a large portion of the cleaning and cooking on weekends.
You could also put together fun family activities for the weekend like going to the zoo or having a film night on Sunday evenings.
By having this balance between what both you and your partner do, your family will be a lot happier. And the relationship between you and your partner will be healthier, too.
Rely On Your Neighbors
If you have neighbors you get along with who are friendly, nice, and reliable, then you could have them watch after your kids when you’re away at work. This is an especially good idea if they have kids around your children’s age who are friends with them.
However, if your neighbors have many things they need to do while taking care of your children, then you shouldn’t expect them to provide all the socializing entertainment.
Because your neighbors are doing you a favor, you should do what you can to make their lives easier when they’re taking care of your children. Provide your children’s snacks and toys, and set up games for them to play.
This way, your children staying with your neighbors won’t place too much of a burden on them.
Keep in mind that you should only do this type of arrangement for a day, at a maximum, two.
However, if you’re happy to take in your neighbors’ kids during the weekend or when you have a day off from work, you might be able to come up with a more regular exchange schedule.
Have an “in Case of Sickness” Carer
When your child gets sick, it can throw your entire schedule out of whack. They can’t go to school and they can’t go to daycare. Additionally, they’ll need some extra love and care—and they might need someone to take them to the doctor or pick up prescriptions.
To avoid throwing a wrench into your day, it’s smart to have a carer you can call at any moment in case your child is sick.
It’s a good idea to have several people on this call list since someone might not be available that day and you’ll have to go with another option.
Your parents, if they’re retired, are a great choice. They’re more likely to have some availability than working friends and family.
Additionally, have a special schedule and items you employ when your child is sick.
For example, if there’s only one type of food they eat when they’re unwell or a TV show they love to watch, you can make sure these experiences are available to whoever is taking care of them.
You’ll also want to provide guidance on how to best take care of your child when they’re sick. Finally, don’t forget to have any important medical documents ready in case your child needs a trip to the doctor or pharmacy.
Find the Right Nanny
Another option if you want to make sure your child is taken care of when you and your partner are busy working is to hire a nanny. When choosing the right nanny, you have to think about several factors. These might include:
- The age of your children
- The nanny’s credentials
- Whether the nanny can provide transport
- What other tasks the nanny will complete
- The years of experience the nanny has
Sit with your partner and put together a list of what you’re looking for. Then, use reputable nanny websites to find one who can do everything you need them to. Some nannies will specialize in taking care of younger children and know all their needs.
Some might also be able to teach your children or entertain them in several ways.
If your children are older, you might need the nanny to drive them around, picking them up from school, and taking them to after-school activities.
Remember when choosing a nanny to ask for references. That way, you can make sure that she’s trustworthy. You can also check out some tips on choosing the right nanny here.
Split up Chores and Tasks
In addition to spending equal amounts of time with parenting responsibilities, you and your partner should also equally split up chores and tasks if both of you are working. Otherwise, it’s easy for resentment to build up between the both of you.
This can be a challenge if you both work, so use a calendar to make sure everything is split up equally.
Additionally, if your children are older, they can help out with some of the chores and tasks around the house.
You could even plan on a weekday morning (such as Saturday) during which the whole family pitches in. This way, everyone’s having fun cleaning together, feeling a bit of solidarity before doing something fun in the afternoon.
Think About Going Part-Time
While this might not be financially possible for all parents, it might be a good idea for you or your partner to go part-time at their job. This way, you’re still making a bit of money but can spend more time with your children.
You can always return to working full-time once your children are teenagers or have gone off to college.
If you can’t imagine being away from work for this long, then you could always work part-time until your child is around 5 years of age.
This way, at least, they’ll be able to spend more time with you during their early years of development.
Think About Working From Home
Another option is to think about working from home. While this may have been more difficult to do in the past, it’s easier now after the pandemic has occurred. Many employers are more open now to their employees working from home.
Even if you’re able to do this a couple of times a week, you could spend more time with your children and save on childcare costs.
If you aren’t sure about how to convince your boss, here are some tips on asking about working from home.
However, if you still aren’t able to work from home, then it might be worth working somewhere close to home or your child’s school. That way, you can get to them earlier in the day and spend more time together.
Consider Day Boarding Schools
Another option when it comes to childcare is schools that do day boarding. More and more schools are doing this, and it’s the perfect option if your children are pre-teens or teens. They’ll enjoy spending time with friends while you’re busy at the office.
Need More Tips for Working Parents?
Now that you’ve learned all about how to raise children as two working parents, you might need more information. Maybe you want help organizing your day as a working parent. Or maybe you want to learn about activities you can plan for your kids when you’re at work.
Whatever information you need, you can find it on our blog.
Simply go to the Family & Relationships section, where you can learn all about how to live your best life and improve your children’s lives while working full-time.