Although our children miss Mike when he is away for a shift at the fire department, it doesn’t seem to phase them when Mike is away for 24 or 48 hour shifts. This is the only life they have ever known so it is their normal. Recently, though, I found they were always asking about his schedule. “When is daddy coming home?” Over the past few weeks I have created a little chart showing the days of the week and placed a picture of a house on the days he is home and a fire station on the days he is at work. It’s simple but it has made a difference. It’s posted on the refrigerator and Jackson (5) in particular loves being able to see the days Mike will be home.
When your spouse has a unique schedule – working odd hours, traveling frequently, or working the public safety shift of 24 on/48 off – life can seem slightly chaotic. One of my goals is to create stability in our home life. This includes helping our children understand Mike’s routine. So often, because I have Mike’s schedule on my calendar I forget they need to know what is happening in our family too.
How do you work on communication in your family? I’d love to hear any ideas on how you help your children adjust to unique schedules!