5 Family-Friendly Tips for Getting More of a Busy Dad’s Time

Balance in family timeFor most working dads, it often feels like more time is spent at the office meeting table than the family dinner table. He wants more time at home, and his family does too.

Yes, his work-life balance is crucial to a happy family – and yes it often seems unattainable.

Well, there *is* a way to get more of Dad’s time, and you can help make this happen with the following 5 tips:

1) Share One Calendar

Most working parents fail to keep their schedules coordinated. This often leaves Dad in the dark because life’s “big picture” easily gets lost amidst the workday shuffle. A go-to calendar creates a visual reminder that allows him to make family time, like leaving work early for his daughter’s 6pm basketball practice.

  • Sync-up your day planner calendars each morning — include all the going’s on like doctor’s appointments and kids’ tests.
  • Update a weekly family schedule into his mobile phone.
  • Share an online service such as Google Calendar that can be accessed at work and at home.

2) Divide and Conquer

Alongside most busy Dads there is a just-as-busy Mom. Whether she works a job herself or manages the household, Mom can’t realistically enjoy time with her spouse if she’s too busy herself. Split-up weekly household activities and create more quality time for each other:

  • Can Dad pick up the dry cleaning while Mom grocery shops? Great!
  • Have Dad do the dishes while Mom checks homework.
  • Dad and kids can go on a gas station run each Sunday in Mom’s car while Mom plans weekly meals.

3) Create an Evening Routine

The Dad who works late misses out on key hours of important family time. Create some special nightly routines that build-in quality time. Try these examples:

  • Turn off all electronics, computers, TV, and portable games at a select hour and offer some undivided attention.
  • Start an informal family chat before each bedtime. Make sure everyone shares their 3 favorite things about their day, and maybe 3 things they learned that day.
  • Have Dad lead the teeth brushing and story time routines.

4) Enjoy Family Tasks

Before the week begins, plan a few household activities that can be done as a family. Most mundane tasks can become special family time, and they become more special when they’re done as a team. It can’t help but build togetherness. And, at the end of each task make sure there’s a fun reward. For example:

  • Do yard work together, giving everyone a unique job. Follow with a trip to the ice cream parlor.
  • Cook a simple meal with Dad one night a week. Tuesday can be make-your-own-pizza night where everybody contributes.
  • Have Dad lead a nightly house pickup “safari” before dessert. Putting things back in their place is a great way to slip in a few teachable moments.

5) Don’t Overbook

Make sure Dad’s few free hours are not all about the “honey-do” list. Keeping a “fun activities” list is just as important as the chore list. Make family time happen for Dad by scheduling necessary house projects and tasks over the course of the month. Consider this:

  • Three hours each weekend for outdoor projects such as gutter cleaning, followed by three for Dad to coach little league.
  • Plan a weekend family zoo trip one weekend, a garage cleaning the next.
  • Hire out menial tasks. Dad’s attention is worth so much more than money spent hiring a neighborhood kid to mow the lawn.

By the way, all of these tips easily work for the busy working Mom.

Take control and increase your “Dad time” by making better use of your family time. It’s sure to give you better enjoyment of your days, and more peaceful work-life balance.

Jeff Doubek Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at jeff.doubek@daytimer.com

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