University of Illinois Extension
Skipnavigation Nibbles ... Ideas for Families

Kids & Food
Help Your Child Succeed
Your Child's Health
Challenges of Parenting
Learning to Get Along
Playtime Is Fun Time
The Day Care Routine

Balancing Work and Family

One of the biggest challenges with working and raising a family is having time for both...and feeling good about it. It's no cinch to juggle three occupations at once: dual earner, spouse and parent.

If necessary family tasks are going to get done, it takes teamwork. That teamwork may easily involve children.

  • Select tasks that are comparable to their abilities.
  • Vary their responsibilities...nobody enjoys the less desirable tasks but if everyone takes a turn, it's easier to take a turn.
Make use of quality time. The warm closeness of valuable minutes together are difficult to locate in highly structured schedules. These hours or minutes are ones in which we pay close attention to others...children or adults. Author Kay Kuzma in Prime- Time Parenting reminds us to make the most of time together. Coming home at the end of work/school may be converted from a TV/"homework"/prepare dinner/evening chores routine to a meaningful greeting time--followed by task completion.
  • Thinking about someone even when they are not near you accounts for an important contribution toward the person. Tell others you thought about them today.
  • Take the time to be close to that person briefly.
  • Talk with them.
  • Look: use eye contact as you communicate.
  • Touch: a pat on the shoulder, a kiss on the forehead, a hug shows you care.
Rethink expectations and attitudes about what needs to be done. Do not measure your self-worth in terms of how you would accomplish tasks if not working outside the home. Make those pockets of time special ones.