Manage Third Shift And A Family

It is often a difficult transition to go from the traditional 9-to-5 workday to a midnight shift, especially as a parent. Everyone in your household is likely to feel the effects of this seemingly unnatural schedule, although there are many ways to minimize the stresses of managing third shift and a family. With proper balance, open-minded flexibility and communication, you should be able to develop a family schedule to which everyone can adjust and adapt.


1. Discuss the struggles of working third shift with your family. Take into consideration the ages of your children and how your absence at night affects them. Let them express their concerns and reassure them that you will collectively come up with an arrangement that will reasonably suit everyone’s needs, while agreeing to compromise in some regards.

2. Sleep like it is a treasure. As a night-shift worker, you will sleep best during the day by adding a few sleeping tricks to your routine. Purchase heavier and darker curtains or blinds; perhaps even use both. Unwind with a hot bubble bath in the morning after work and go to extra lengths to be sure that you have comfortable sheets and pajamas to snuggle into. Sleeping during the day can be a challenge because of the natural tendency to wonder and worry about what is going on in your home. If you have young children and you know that they are well cared for with a babysitter or older family member, treat yourself to a pair of earplugs and a black satin eye mask. If your children are in school during the day, you may want to skip the earplugs so that you can hear the phone, doorbell or smoke alarm in case of an emergency with your family, in your home or at school. Getting an adequate amount of quality sleep will make a tremendous difference in your ability to function in the remainder of the day you have at home with your family, as well as during your night at work.

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3. Eat with caution. Eating or drinking beverages with caffeine or sugar in the few hours before going to bed in the morning may cause you to be unable to sleep during the day. When you wake up, feed your body healthy nutrients that will help carry you through the remainder of your day and night, just as you would if your breakfast time were actually in the morning.

4. Schedule family activities on a regular basis during your waking hours. This way, the quality time spent can make up for the time your family may miss out on due to your sleep and work schedule. Night shift can be much better justified when time with your family is still frequent and well-spent.

5. Stay on the same schedule even on your “off” days, if at all possible. Sleeping at night because you have a couple days off can throw your body’s inner clock awry, resulting in physical and medical illnesses due to a weakened immune system and pure exhaustion. It takes your body time to develop a schedule and, if you are not consistent in giving your body what it expects, it is likely to retaliate by wreaking havoc on your immune system and mental and emotional well-being due to stress.