Have you ever considered Split – Shift Parenting ?

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

shift parenting

I’ve just been interviewed for a magazine about Split- Shift parenting and I wonder if it’s something you might consider for your family or are currently trying out?

For a dual income home, the arrival of a child leads to one unavoidable question: “Who’s going to look after the kids?” Lots of parents of course turn to day-care, which is becoming very expensive, while others involve family members, like Grandma or Granddad and some simply forego their careers for the chance to raise their children themselves. For those families who aren’t fortunate enough to be able to have one parent stay at home full time, there is an alternative.

It’s called  “Split-Shift Parenting.”

A split-shift parenting arrangement allows for children to reap the benefit of having a stay-at-home parent at all times, yet the dual income they have become accustomed to is not sacrificed.

Most children seem to thrive in a split-shift parenting household for a variety of reasons directly related to their parent’s availability and involvement. These aspects are key in children’s lives, no matter what age they are. With split-shift parenting, someone is always there to drive the kids to school, attend school plays or to take the kids to ballet lessons or rugby training. The added benefit is that neither parent has to miss work when a child is ill, and both parents get quality time alone with the children.

In terms of  child development & education, children also benefit from the 1-2-1 attention and time that parents can give them.

When a child is in day-care 40+ hours per week, parents soon realise that their youngster’s impressionable life is being moulded by someone other than themselves. One benefit of this arrangement is that Dads are forced to take a more active role in child rearing. From cooking and cleaning to baths and homework, dads must be hands on to survive in a split-shift parenting household. The children also benefit from the qualities that they are exposed to from both parents. Mums tend to encourage the nurturing and loving characteristics, while Dads tend to encourage the risk taking, rough & tumble and the more  adventurous characteristics in children.

Financially, the amount that can be saved through split-shift parenting is tremendous. Full-time childcare for a three-year-old child can range anywhere from £200-£1,000 a month, depending on which childcare provider or nursery you choose & after-school and summer camp programmes can be just as expensive.

For a split-shift parent there are as many disadvantages as advantages to this arrangement. However, if you address these issues beforehand, it can save you many headaches in the future.

  • Discuss with your partner the effect that split-shift parenting will have on your relationship
  • Determine whether the arrangement is something you can maintain for a long-term or short-term period.
  • Determine whether this type of arrangement will affect your current job.
  • Decide whether you are willing to pursue a different career that will allow you to participate in split-shift parenting.
  • Decide on when you and your partner will have “alone” time.
  • Arrange times when the entire family can spend time together.
  • Discuss the division of household duties, children’s schedules and expectations for your partner.

Not every family’s careers or lifestyle will allow them to have split-shift parenting households but many of the answers to the questions will help you to decide whether split-shift parenting  is for you and whether you are able to make the change to this type of parenting arrangement.

But it’s certainly one to consider

 

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