Making The Night Shift Work For Your Family

Yesterday I talked a little bit about parents who choose to work the night shift. If you are wondering how it works on a practical level, I have decided to discuss that today. After trying a couple of different approaches to adjusting your family’s schedule to accommodate a parent working the night shift at home you will most likely find a solution that works for your family.

When a family or a couple thinks of each day as a twenty four hour period of time, it is easier to find creative ways to do or have the things that you want and need for yourselves like time for work and time for family activities. The following suggestions are a few things to think about when designing your family’s schedule to include a parent working from home at night.

Of the utmost importance is your need for approximately eight hours of sleep, your spouse’s need for approximately eight hours of sleep, and the age – related sleep needs of your children. Sleep is essential for health, safety, and well being so it is important that you all get the amount that you need. A family schedule where everyone’s sleep needs are met can look very different from one household to another, and that is okay.

Meals are another essential. Everyone needs to eat, and someone has to be responsible for ensuring that all family members have the foods that they need when they need them. Grocery shopping and meal planning are a part of this as well. Parents may decide that food is one person’s responsibility, or they may divide meal preparation in a way that makes sense for them in light of the way that everything else is scheduled.

Caring for children is another large responsibility, and many times parents divide the tasks associated with caring for children such as getting them to bed, getting them to school, helping with homework, and other things according to which parent is working and when. Part of caring for children also includes scheduling times when the entire family is together for activities like meals, outings, or just being together.

One area that should not be overlooked is making sure that parents have opportunities to connect with each other. Relationships take work, and let’s face it – you love your spouse or partner and you want to have time where you can just be with them and enjoy their company. Whether you have a regular date night or less elaborate yet just as special moments throughout your week where you can spend time together, it is important to make sure that you get that together time that you crave.

It is funny that the last item that I have chosen to discuss is chores and the other responsibilities associated with running a household. Those things have to get done too, but I have found that they just sort of find their way into our schedule without specifically planning for them. For example, dishes go hand in hand with meal preparation. Since I am at home a lot, I keep the inside of the house clean. My husband takes care of the yard, the cars, and any “maintenance” sort of projects that come up.

Photo by sebastiano on morguefile.com.