It's not just busy working mothers who can find it hard to juggle parenthood with a busy career - fathers also need to create a work/life balance.

No matter how hard a man works, he needs to make time for his family, for the sake of himself, his children and even his boss.

According to executive wellbeing coach Christopher Harvey, engaging properly with your family doesn't necessarily mean cutting your working hours.

He adds that building a better relationship with your children could actually be beneficially to your job as if you're not feeling low-level anxiety about being a poor dad, you're likely to be a better worker.


Here, Christopher shares his top 10 simple tips for dads for instantly improving family relationships whether you're happily married or separated.

1. Fixed skype times

Try keeping to a fixed time each day to Skype with the kids at home. Just that simple contact will help you bond with them and reassure you that all's well.

It will also make your subsequent work more effective- so don't worry about losing five or 10 minutes of work time.

Your children get to speak to you, your employer gets more quality work and there are huge knock-on effects for your own wellbeing. So everybody wins.


2. Family whatsapp group

Learn how to make good use of social media so you can keep up with your kids. A family Whatsapp group is a good idea - ensuring that you'll always know the family 'in' jokes, see their latest photos and be able to engage in chit-chat.

Too busy? Not at all - the time it takes will be more than made up for by increased productivity. A less anxious dad is a more effective worker.

3. Don't be the bully

Don't be the one who always does the reprimanding. Taking on the role of family disciplinarian may cause you anxiety, particularly if your own father was one.

Discuss this with your partner - and make it clear you don't want to be the one who always tells the kids off, particularly if you're only with them a few minutes a day.

4. Make time for family events

There's no getting round this: you need to go to some family events - like sports days and school plays.

Decide in advance the number of times you'll be doing this a month or a quarter, then make the events unbreakable fixtures in your diary.

5. Make a defined work space

If you're working at home, make sure you have a defined space for this. If you really have to work on the kitchen table, it's useful to have a sign that you're not to be disturbed - like, say, a red flag.

If you know no-one will distract you, you won't be anxious about being interrupted and you'll work better.

6. Stick to your timetable

It's also important to tell the kids what time you will stop working, and then to stick to your promise, even if you have to return to work later. This avoids potential frustration and anxiety.

Another tip: during your short time with the children each evening, try to find things you can genuinely praise them for. This does wonders for a child's wellbeing.


7. Don't buy extravagant gifts

If you're a divorced father, living away from the family home, don't buy the kids extravagant gifts. They're no substitute for time with Dad, they may make your ex angry and your children may feel bought.

Always value time with them over consumer goods. Your child's birthday is only once a year, so make sure you celebrate it with him or her and share an experience that creates memories.

8. Be positive about your ex

Referring to your ex as "him" or "her" after a row or divorce increases tension and anxiety for your children. Make sure you always keep references to your ex as positive as possible - ie: "your mum."

9. Be open about same-sex relationships

Broadly speaking, millennium children tend to be more open-minded than previous generations about transgender and same-sex relationships.

Talk to them openly about your own orientation - it may not seem easy at the time but it will reduce anxiety all round.

10. Find common ground between stepchildren

If you've remarried, your children may not be keen to meet your current partner's own children. Don't keep insisting that they'll all like each other and have great fun - that's unlikely to work.

It's much better to find an activity you think they would all enjoy - like going to an outward bound centre, if they're sporty. However, you don't want them competing in a game that ends up with a winner and a loser.

And don't worry if they don't really like the activity you've chosen - you may find the children bonding over that. Any common ground creates rapport.