6 Ways to Be a Better Parent
1. Think quality time.
Mother-daughter brunches, father-and-son fishing trips, family dinners. According to a 2015 study, income and the mother’s education level had a greater impact on the academic achievement and emotional well-being of children age 3 to 11 than the volume of time they spent with parents. For teens, a mere six hours of family time a week reduced the likelihood of risky behavior.
2. Plan ahead.
Holidays, birthdays, summer vacations and three-day weekends are ideal for family bonding. To make the most of them, lock your plans down early. “If you don’t, it’s easy for a diversion to pop up,” says Scott Behson, author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home.
3. Speak up.
Men are often reluctant to ask for help, but if they don’t advocate for themselves, it’s hard for a boss to address their family concerns. “Sometimes we need to be up front about what we need,” Behson says.
4. Pitch a plan.
It’s up to you to explain to bosses, teammates or your employees how a flex-time situation will work: when you’ll work from home, how you can be reached, what you’ll deliver and how your progress will be measured.
5. Take what you can.
If parental leave is part of your company’s culture, use it. (If you’re hesitant to take it all at once, divvy it up.) The same goes for flex-time. Personal days, too. Not only does this help your family, but it also benefits your teammates. “You actually build a stronger workforce,” says Josh Levs, author of All In: How Our Work-First Culture Fails Dads, Families, and Businesses—And How We Can Fix It Together. “When you’re not there, it shows everyone who works for you that you trust them.”
6. Move on.
If your employer sternly resists your attempts to create a better work-life balance, find a new job. Behson helped Fatherly.com create a list of the 50 best workplaces for new dads. At the end of the day, you want to be valued for your ability to manage your time, not your ability to sit at your desk. “Parents have to be excellent multitaskers,” says Levs. “They have to know how to run a tight ship. That’s the only way they get things done.”
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.