1. Leave your job on schedule. Your children want a present parent, not a prominent workaholic.
2. Note positive workplace experiences to share when you get home.
3. Instead of surfing the Internet during work breaks, call or email loved ones.
4. Bring I’m-home gifts (even extras from the office candy supply)—and wait for thank-you hugs!
5. If you need to unwind after work, take a brisk walk (or take in a funny podcast) before going home. You’ll arrive in the right mood to be fully present.
6. Take all your allotted days off. Plan special family outings for those days.
7. If you work at home (with or without pay), plan your schedule so you can be busy when everyone else is, not when they most need your attention.
8. If you work at home when your kids will also be there, establish mutually satisfactory boundaries for when you will be available, and what constitutes an “emergency” you’re willing to be interrupted for.
10. Prioritize your schedule and schedule your priorities. “Busy work” always rushes in to fill a time vacuum.
11. Commit to asking yourself, before picking up the easiest to-do-next item, “Will this enhance or detract from my personal relationships?”
13. Schedule family fun times every week. Plan specific activities everyone will look forward to, including at least three shared meals.
14. If you’re frequently tempted to break family dates because “something came up,” create extra accountability by inviting other people or making advance reservations.
15. Remember there’s no excuse—not even weekly family time—for skipping tender daily moments: good-by kisses, welcome-home greetings, good-mornings and good-nights.
17. Work (or work out) with your family. Combining chores and together time also helps teach responsibility.
18. Make your home a place everyone enjoys. Keep the welcome mat out for your children’s friends, even after they outgrow play dates.
19. Always be prepared to give your full attention and empathy when a child is upset or wants advice. Few other things are so essential to warrant finishing first.
20. Limit screen time. Purge your schedule of any shows/social media that fail to meet “personally meaningful, time-limited” criteria.
21. Set “no phones or computers” hours for your household.
22. If you have a landline, let it ring itself out when you’re doing something “family.” Trust that whatever it’s ringing for can wait twenty minutes to be heard on voicemail.
23. Delete unimportant emails unread—not just at home, but also at work to reinforce the habit (and to reduce risks of being kept late).
24. If you share a household with multiple family members, schedule individual time for each (including each adult) at least once a month.
25. Teach your children—by words and example—that relationships are more important than accomplishments.