Tips for Working Parents: Unexpected Situations

Teen girl doing homework, woman feeling her forehead.

No parent expects every day to go smoothly. Child emergencies happen, so plan ahead. Decide how to handle unexpected situations ahead of time. And prepare for things that are more likely to happen, such as your child getting sick. Also, find ways to reduce daily problems and issues. Both the problems and the solutions will change as your child grows.

Prepare for sick days

Find out the illness policy at your child’s daycare or school. Be sure to learn which symptoms mean your child must stay home. Find someone who can help watch your child during a sick day—your partner, a relative, or even a friend. Some communities have sick-child daycare services that are staffed by nurses. What if your child gets sick at school? If you can’t leave work, identify someone ahead of time who can take your child home.

Get organized at home 

When lunches, homework, and permission slips get left at home, you probably get a phone call from school. Many of these calls can be avoided with a little planning. These tips may help:

  • Keep a calendar marked with everyone’s activities and appointments.

  • In the evening, gather everything your child will need the next day and put it in one spot, maybe in a basket by the door.

  • Double-check that your child has each item before leaving in the morning.

  • Ask older children to collect their own things.