Being a new parent is tough regardless if you adopted, are fostering, gave birth, etc so what can you do in the workplace to support them? Parents need all of the support they can get, especially if they do not live anywhere near a family member. Work should be a safe space for everyone and be there to support each other in times of need and celebration. So let us take a look at some things that would help them out!
Ask Them to Create a Wishlist
One thing that is extremely beneficial about online shopping is that you can create an online registry on Amazon, Target, or Buy Buy Baby, and can be shipped directly to their house! Ask them to share the wishlist that they have or if they are taking in an emergency foster child, give them a gift card. Anything helps, even if you’re just buying them a pack of baby wipes! Hand me downs are also encouraged!
Make Them Dinner
Offer to drop off or bring the meal into work and ask about any allergies or dietary restrictions prior to cooking! If your coworker has a newborn, this is so special to do for them. Eating and cooking seem almost impossible during the first couple of weeks. I remember the first week of being a new mom and all I had the energy to do was pull a pint of ice cream out of the freezer and that was my dinner. Casseroles, pasta, salads, and soups are all easy to reheat ideas to share with your coworker. Bonus points if you put it in a pan they don’t have to clean and return!
If you’re close to your coworker, offer them support. Offer to come over and help with daily tasks while they’re on maternity/paternity leave or offer support in as many ways as you can while not overstepping your boundaries. Keep them in the loop about work, but remember to keep it light and positive!
For Management: Communicate
When the parent returns from leave, have a sit down meeting with them. Ask them what you can do or if anything changed that needs to be accommodated for. Ask if their lunch time is still okay. Ask questions to ensure employee satisfaction and happiness in your workplace. This is a huge adjustment for them and it makes it a lot better with a supportive management team.
It can be difficult for the parent to return to work after being out for twelve or more weeks. Remember to have compassion and understanding for them and the hiccups they experience while adjusting. Give them time, positive reinforcement and let them know that they are still doing great. Let them know that you are a part of their village to guide them through the trenches of parenthood. Be the person that you wish that you will have during the time you become a parent or what you didn’t have when you first became a parent while returning to work. Do you have other ways we can support staff while becoming a new parent? Let us know!