When your child needs regular medical care

When your child needs regular medical care
Only 20% of parents say that their employers have a family-work reconciliation policy.

Sabrina and Éric both work and must also cope with their 16-month-old son Olivier’s visual disability. His condition is unfortunately permanent and involves multiple medical appointments. And because of his special needs, little Olivier must also attend a different daycare centre than the one his 3-year-old sister goes to.

Éric works as branch manager for a company that specializes in surveying equipment, while Sabrina is an IT project manager. They both work long hours. To have more scheduling flexibility, Sabrina changed jobs and now works for a company that makes it easier for their employees to balance work and family life by authorizing telework.

Only 20% of parents say that their employers have a family-work reconciliation policy.

“When I bring Olivier to a medical appointment, I can make up my hours in the evening, when the kids are asleep,” says Sabrina. “Our daily lives depend on us being well-organized. We try to get ahead and prepare as much as possible the night before—lunches, diaper bags, etc.—to save time the next day. Routine is just as essential. In the mornings, the kids know what needs to be done and in what order. That avoids a lot of useless stress.”

Simplify your routines

Nancy Doyon, family coach and specialized educator, offers a few tips to make the morning and evening routines easier:

In the morning:

  • Wake up a little earlier to avoid stress and arguments at the doorstep.
  • Add an extra ten minutes to your schedule to have time for last-minute hiccups (“I can’t find my hat!”).
  • Don’t do everything for your children.
  • Avoid TV and video games. They slow things down.

In the evenings:

  • Don’t put too much on your shoulders by aiming too high (e.g.: a different meal every night).
  • Avoid overloading your schedule with extra activities.
  • Avoid drawing out the bedtime ritual and getting the children to sleep too late, so that you don’t pay the price the next morning.
“Too many families don’t have any routines or structure,” says family coach Nancy Doyon. “It’s essential to have some kind of framework that defines what needs to get done so that everyone knows what is expected of them.” A fridge calendar where you can write down all medical appointments can help you stay on track. Note down all family activities, as well, to make weekly planning easier. You can also buy family planners that come with themed stickers, which children can have fun sticking on the appropriate day. When you have a child who needs regular medical follow-ups, it’s important to talk about it with your employer to find solutions that can help you organize your days (e.g.: fewer hours).