are looking for a job. Although you might not immediately think about it that
way, children can be a great training device to help you gain many job skills.
Here are some skills you can learn just by being a parent:
1. Flexibility – As a parent you are often thrown for a loop by things your children say or do. From throwing up in the middle of the night to calls from school to last minute diaper changes, you never know what to expect from kids. Some adults in the working world have a hard time changing directions in the middle of a project or task. However, that is sometimes necessary. If you have the ability to stop one thing and start another without getting upset or losing track of what you are doing, you are the kind of employee a business would want. Nothing is ever stable in this world and the more flexible and adaptable you are the better employee you will be.
2. Organization – From shot records to school lunches, you have to be on top of things with kids. Lost backpacks and permission slips can cost you minutes of valuable time in the mornings. That is why it is so important to be organized. Once you have a system in place, it makes everything go so much smoother. This talent that you form for organization in the midst of chaos is great for employers as well. If you can keep things in the right order and the right place at home, you can do the same at work. Setting up schedules, from meeting with teachers to meetings with bosses is a great skill as well. Juggling three kids’ soccer games in one day makes a work convention seem like no sweat.
3. Working Under Difficult Conditions –Speaking of organization in the midst of chaos, being a parent helps you learn how to cope in a variety of difficult situations. From non-stop crying, all-night vomiting, stinky diaper disasters, and sickness-inducing gross outs, your kids can certainly put you through the ringer. However there are many businesses that also have less than ideal working conditions. Loud, crowded, night shifts, construction noise, or whatever the case may be could be a nightmare for someone who’s not used to working through chaos. However, as a parent, you are well equipped to handle all this.
4. Prioritization –When you have more than one child, or even a child and a spouse, you quickly learn to prioritize. Dirty dishes come after kissing booboos and play time comes after chore time. Being able to prioritize tasks is a great skill to have in any environment. When you work in a fast paced job, some people may get overwhelmed and confused, but not you. You are well prepared to figure out which task has priority so that you can handle everything.
5. Communication –From talking with teachers to planning play dates, your children give you plenty of opportunities to work on your communication skills. Teaching them how to talk, demonstrating good manners, and modeling how to communicate well with others helps renew your communication skills and prepare you for the workplace. After a tired two year old’s tantrum, asking your boss for a raise seems like no big deal.
6. Negotiation –Your children can definitely teach you about negation. How many times have you discussed bedtimes,how long games can be played, or how many cookies constitute dessert? After this kind of high-stakes negotiation, you are well prepared to barter and bargain with the best of them.
7. Multi-tasking – Having kids means you are often doing more than one thing at a time--on the phone while changing diapers, filling out forms while entertaining a bored toddler, making up a silly song while cooking dinner, and so on. Being able to keep track of more than one thing at a time is a vital skill in the workplace. There are few jobs where you are not expected to answer the phones, send emails, or other tasks even while busy working. Being able to multi-task is a great advantage to employers and makes you even more attractive in their eyes.
8. Conflict Resolution – Anyone who has more than one child knows how to end conflicts. Either that or they end up with only one child left alive! Everyone does not always get along, and the bigger the group, the more personal problems there are. If you can handle different personalities and the conflicts between them in the workplace, then you are a great asset to any business. Keeping the peace between coworkers should be a snap after refereeing a play date with toddlers.
9. Budgeting – Between diapers and food you would go broke in a day if you did not know how to budget your money. Kids can be a huge drain on resources so being able to handle their quickly changing financial needs is a great building block to gaining the skills to be able to handle a business’s budget.
10. Team Work – Hopefully you and your spouse work as a team to raise your children. This team work experience could pay off. It is not easy for some people to be able to put aside their own desires for the good of the family or business. Some people just can’t work well with others. If you have gone through illness, remodels, and painfully long children’s plays with your partner without killing them, you have formed team work skills that can translate into the business environment. Working together with your child’s teachers is another example of team work skills in play. If you can work well with others in a team environment, you will be in high demand.
As you can see, there are many skills that parenting teaches us that we
can apply to the workplace. Before you assume that your time with your children has no value in the working world, consider all the skills you've developed along the way.
Stephanie has many years of experience as a nanny. She has always loved
children and has continuously been involved in childcare activities. Currently
she is one of the writers for houstonnanny.com. If you
want to get in touch with her, you can email her at stephanie. Houstonnanny @