Making Time for Children on Workdays

Making time for your children is not easy, especially when you work a full time job. This article will show you how to be there for them.

We need to loosen up our concept of time and working schedules and be more flexible.

It is possible, by ‘changing the shape of your time’ to create extra time for the children without necessarily losing any work time.

  • Start work later once or twice a week, and do things with the children instead.
  • Use travelling in the car with them as a chance to talk.
  • Make sure the children feel they have better access to you at work than anyone else does.
  • Make ‘holes in your day’ to get to their school for special events, especially if the kids realise you are missing out on something important at work.
  • Phone or email the children from work with a brief message to let them know you are thinking of them.
  • Involve the children in your working environment – take them there, introduce them to your colleagues.
  • Tell the children about your work.
  • Attend some of their school camps.
  • Make sure you are available to them at crisis times – don’t leave all that to their mother.
  • Do regular canteen duty at school.
  • Pick them up from school when you can.

Idea for action: Pick one of these things to do each week and schedule it in your diary

“I know that Dad makes his best effort to be a good dad, and that when he comes home he is full-on as a dad and doesn’t bring his work stresses home. When he comes in from work he wants to know about my day and helps me with my homework. Even if he can’t help he makes it clear when he will be able to help. What’s not so good sometimes is that occasionally Dad has to work really hard. Then when he gets home it gets to him and it gets to everyone else. When it spills out like that, then I realise what he is doing with us the rest of the time.” –Naomi Creelman

“If there is one thing I would do differently it would be to get a regular meal time for the children. We have too many meals on stools around the kitchen table and we only have dinner together about three times a week maximum. Although we do a huge amount together as a family at other times, I think a regular mealtime together would be one change I’d make.”  – Neale Fong


Work around children’s busyness

As the kids get older, they will get busier with school, sport, after-school activities, friends, etc. Work around their other commitments as much as you can in planning time together.


Conversation starters – teenagers

Here are a few suggested questions to ask your teenage child.