If you have a child with academic, social or behavioral issues like ADHD, dyslexia or another learning disorder, you may struggle to balance your life. How can you care for your child, take care of household duties and work all at the same time? Here is a guide designed to help you balance work and caring for your child:
Time management is a skill you must master when balancing work and being a parent.
- Create a flexible schedule around your work hours and your child's school schedule. Add tasks that you need to accomplish, but make sure they can be completed any time during the day.
- Multitask whenever you can. For example, choose dinners that you can pop in the oven and cook by setting a timer. While dinner is cooking, help your child with homework or do some quick chores.
- Plan ahead to help save time during the week. On the weekends, plan your meals during the week and pre-prepare them. For example, if you're doing a crock-pot chili on Monday night, place all ingredients in a freezer bag the day before, and dump them in the pot in the morning. Do this preparation for all your meals.
- Keep a list of items your family runs out of.
- Cut down on distractions. Set aside about 10 minutes per day to catch up on social media, and avoid social media the rest of the day.
You're a busy parent, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun, too. If you only take care of household duties and work, you're going to get stressed and burn yourself out. Find time for fun activities. Here are some tips:
- Plan a fun activity that works with your child's behavioral or social issue. For example, if your child has ADHD, plan an outdoor activity that keeps them moving and occupied constantly, like hiking or swimming.
- Plan a fun activity you and your spouse can do without your children, which gives you both an opportunity to connect and keep the romance going. Have an at-home movie night when the kids go to sleep, go for a walk together or read the same book and set a time to discuss it together.
- Set aside time for yourself. Do an activity you enjoy alone, such as a bubble bath, writing or going for a walk.
Another key aspect when managing your work and family responsibilities is new expectations. You need to be more flexible and adjust what you think you can accomplish. It's just not realistic to expect everything to be perfect. Here are some guidelines:
- Set things lower on your priority list. For example, you may prioritize spending time with your family or taking your child to tutoring over having a spotless home.
- Accept that it's okay to take time off work to tend to the needs of your family and children.
- Don't expect your child with behavioral or academic issues to excel in every subject. Encourage your child to excel in what they're good at or interested in.
- Take days one day at a time, and strive to make that day good. Make it a goal to minimize your child's outbursts or behavioral issues for one day.
If you manage your time, have fun and set new expectations, you can achieve a balance between your work and caring for your family.