7 ways working parents can tackle kids and life after the 6pm daycare pickup

Posted in Preschool.

After a long day at work and a late daycare pickup, it’s easy for quality time with your children to go out the window. But this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, Mothercraft nurse Chris Minogue has some tips for bringing your best self home. 

The daycare life

The 6pm daycare pickup is an unavoidable reality for many working parents.

When you have young kids with a 7:30pm bedtime, the nighttime routine must be done and dusted in about an hour and a half.  

Even on good days, it can feel that between work and home, you just never stop working/wondering if you’ve got all your ducks in a row.

“Start with the practical things,” Chris advises. “The only thing your child REALLY needs at the end of a long day in care is your full attention.” 

So here’s how to make the time you have really count:

1. Switch off your phone

As soon as you get to daycare, switch off your devices and leave them off until your kids go to bed – and be really tough with yourself about this. There is almost nothing that can’t wait until they’re asleep.     

2. Play

Make sure the first thing you do when you walk in the door is sit down and play with your little one for at least 15-20 minutes – BEFORE you do anything else. If you feel really pushed for time, you can do this in the bath – and for extra points, get in the bath with them!

3. Eat simply: Think lunch rather than dinner

Remember that most daycare centres provide lots of food throughout the day and a hot meal at lunchtime. If you provide your child’s food at your daycare, then pack a good hearty meal for lunch and plenty of snacks. This means your child won’t really want much food later, especially after 6pm. Make them a simple sandwich for dinner, or perhaps an egg on toast.

Listen to expert daycare advice on Feed Play Love

4. Take things really slow

Daycare is a big deal for little people. They’ve had to be busy and good all day, so when they get home it’s normal for them to act out a little bit. They often sleep less at daycare too, so it’s likely they’ll be overtired. Keep your responses warm and encouraging, and try to be as slow and mindful as possible.

5. Aim for one short day a week (more if possible)

The ideal scenario would be for parents to share the drop-off and pick-up – one at each end. This hopefully allows for the shortest day at childcare possible for your little one. Another way to do this is to speak with your employer about finishing work one day a week earlier, so at least the week is broken up a little bit. 

6. Make weekends sacrosanct

So much of the stress of modern life is because we are blurring family time with a mad dash to get things done around the house. Devote time during the week to ticking off the household tasks, so the weekends can be free just for your kids and family time.

7. Have a motto for challenging days  

We all have days where life can feel brutally overwhelming. On days like these, remind yourself that consistency is what matters. Kids can cope with anything when they have security and a loving environment. At the end of the day, they just care that you are there.     


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