Friday, August 14, 2009

5 tips for parents returning to work.

Eventually, whether it is after four months or thirty, you will have to return to work. Leaving your baby in the care of a person or group of people is undoubtedly one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. Just finding someone you trust is hard enough, let alone managing the intricacies of the transition. Your baby knows you, and trusts you to always be there when he or she needs you. Adjusting that roll to include other people can be tricky, but there are some things you can do to help smooth the transition.

1. Investing true trust in the child care you choose.
At some point you will have chosen a nanny, a daycare or a preschool that you like and you will have decided to invest a certain amount of your trust in them. Now the real test comes when you leave your precious baby in their care. If you have chosen them to care for your baby, it will be counterproductive to both your relationship with the child care provider and your baby if you second guess every rule, or executive decision they put in place. Trust is a principle that you will teach your children through example, and the sooner you exercise this emotional muscle the better. If you invest nearly full trust in your child care provider, you will be spared many headaches, ulcers and sleepless nights. However, trust should always be given conditionally, and if you ever have the feeling that something is wrong, or that your child's safety is at risk, do not hesitate to investigate and remove your baby from the child care situation.

2. Leave an overlap of at least a half an hour for arrival and departure.
When you drop off your baby, or when your nanny arrives always have that time be at least a half an hour before you have to leave. Most day cares will accommodate this transition time, because they know how much easier it is to help a baby or child adjust to a new environment or new people if their parent is there during the transition. Clingy, and separation-anxiety prone periods will happen, but if your baby is used to your comfort and support during times of transition, he will be much more likely to adjust easily.

3. Make a voice recording of you reading a book for nap-times.
This is an easy and simple tip. Buy a small tape recorder, and a small tape to go in it. then, record yourself and your spouse reading stories and singing songs to your baby. Any skilled nanny or reliable day care should be able to ensure that your baby gets to hear these recordings before nap times or any time that they are feeling sad or lonely. It is amazing how strongly babies react to hearing the voices of their parents and other voices that they hear regularly.

4. Take unannounced lunch trips to visit your baby.
Especially if you are a family who has hired a nanny, I recommend periodic unannounced visits home, just to check on your nanny and your baby. It has been shocking to many parents to discover the liberties that daycare institutions and nannies can take with child care when left unsupervised for too long. Just two or three unannounced visits home every two or three months is enough to leave an impression on your caregiver that your are always watching and invested in insuring your baby's care level is maintained. It is also helpful to let your daycare and your child care worker know that you will be making these unannounced visits because just the idea of an unannounced visit has been shown to promote a higher level of consciousness about maintaining the level of care that you expect.

5. Leave your work at work.
When you come home from work, you will be tempted, even pressured to bring projects and deadlines home with you. These extra curricular activities may have only eaten into your personal time before, but now that you are a parent, they will take a big bite out of the time that your baby needs from you. No matter how great the care your baby receives each day is, and no matter how important the deadline you are looking at is, your baby needs you. Your baby needs to hear your voice and to experience you choosing her over your work. This will teach your baby self esteem and basic self respect early on. Sacrificing the opportunity to help your baby understand their own important status in your life as above and superior to work is an opportunity you should not squander lightly.

As you ease back into the workforce and you begin to find your place again, keep in mind that your position as a person has changed. You are basically someone who is the CEO of the business of raising your little bib dribbler but have been put in the position of outsourcing many of the day-to-day aspects of that business to another entity. It may be helpful to always make an effort to view your regular job as something you are doing to supplement your ability to focus on your baby's growth and development. If you have found these tips helpful please forward them to new and expecting parents you know. Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome. Happy parenting!

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