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Coping when your partner works away

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Whether it‘s a regular occurrence or just on an ad hoc basis, when one partner has to work away from home it can disrupt the normal family dynamic. Even just one or two nights away can be stressful for both the parents and the children. If you’re looking for ways of making your life easier when your partner is away, here are our top tips.

Maintain a routine

It can be difficult when you’re managing by yourself to maintain the normal routine. However, children cope much better with a change in circumstances when they know what’s happening from day to day. Therefore, it’s important to keep to regular times for meals and bed, as well as still going to after school or toddler activities. When the other parent arrives home you should also stick to these timings. You might think that keeping the children up late to welcome them home is a good idea, but it could make them over tired and irritable the next day. It might be better to just let them enjoy the next day together.

Consistent rules

When one parent is away for a period of time, it’s vital that you’re both clear about what behaviour you expect from the children. If you’re at home by yourself, don’t be tempted to give in just because your partner’s away. It’s also important that they also maintain these rules when they come home. Children are more likely to play up if they don’t know what they can get away with. By maintaining a set of clear rules and expectations, they will be less inclined to push the boundaries.

Be organised

When you’re on your own you need to keep stressful situations to a minimum. For parents of school age children you should ensure that uniforms are ironed and ready the night before and that school bags are packed. Set the alarm a bit earlier so that you can be up and ready before the children get up. This will help to prevent any last minute rushing around in the morning. If you have a number of after school activities and appointments, then write everything down on the calendar so you don’t forget.

Keep in touch

parent works awayIt’s important that the absent parent feels part of the family, even while they’re away. Depending on the age of the children, the length of time they’re away and the practicalities of working around a time difference, there are a number of ways they can maintain contact. Skype is a good option if they’re away frequently or children can send emails and texts. Facebook is also useful, as you can upload photos so they don’t feel like they’re missing out.

Spend time together

When the other parent returns you should set aside some time to enjoy being a family again. Maybe plan a fun day out, sit down to watch a film together or play a game. As well as spending time as a family unit, you should also make time for each other. If it’s possible, arrange a babysitter and plan a night out or just enjoy a quiet meal at home together and talk about what’s happened while they’ve been away.

Being apart can be stressful on both parents, but there are ways in which you can make the situation more bearable. Instead of focusing on the negatives, think about all the ways you can deal positively with the time away from each other.

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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