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Planning your return to work


Making the decision about when to return to work after having a baby can be one of the most difficult ones for a new mother.

There’s the excitement of working and spending time with adults again, but there is also the anxiety about your child’s care and guilt about leaving them with someone else.

But while the concerns are justified for new mums, research shows children of working mums are just as happy as adults as the children of mums who stayed at home.

A Harvard Business School study found daughters of working mothers are better educated and earn more money. The research also revealed that the sons of working mothers spend more time on child care and domestic chores.

Harvard Business School professor Kathleen McGinn and her research team compared two international surveys that were conducted over the course of 10 years,

“There’s a lot of parental guilt about having both parents working outside the home,” McGinn said. “But what this research says to us is that not only are you helping your family economically – and helping yourself professionally and emotionally if you have a job you love – but you’re also helping your kids.”

If you do have concerns about the next steps in your child’s life, there are some steps to follow to ensure you, and your little one, will be happy.

Thinking ahead

Firstly, you will need to thing about the type of childcare that will suit you and your family. If you do have your heart set on a local early learning centre, make sure you get in early to book your spot. Some centres have long waiting lists and ensuring your name is down on the waiting list will give you options when the time comes.
  • Make sure you have conversations with your employer about your situation – will you need some flexibility in your role? How many days do you want to work?

Getting started

Many children will experience separation anxiety when they first start at an early learning centre. They may get anxious and upset when the times comes for you to leave but there are a few techniques you can use to make it easier.
  • Ensure your child knows where they are going for the day and what they may be doing. Also ensure they know who will be looking after them and take them on some visits to their new centre.
  • Ease your child into the new arrangement and when it’s to go, make it quick. Let your child know you’re going and when you will be back.
  • Make sure you have worked out your budget, including how much CCS you will receive.
Routines are key

Once you’ve made the move into early learning, try to stick to the new family routine so that your child knows what’s happening next. Make the most of the time you now have with your child or children and spend quality time with them doing activities they enjoy.
  • Try to transition into a routine a couple of weeks before you start work. This gives everyone time to get used to the new plan and will help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • The Raising Children Network recommends planning what you will do when your child gets sick or if care is unavailable. Will you or your partner stay at home? Who will pick your child up from early learning if they are sick?
  • Prepare some meals during the weekend, if you have time off, and get ahead for the week.
Read more about the Child Care Subsidy here
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