Research indicates your work schedule could be negatively affecting your children’s growth and learning capabilities.
On-call scheduling is a practice utilized by companies such as Starbucks and Abercrombie & Fitch in order to maximize financial profits. At the short end of the stick are employees who receive short notice about which shifts they’ll be working and base their schedules on unpredictable shift changes and cancellations. These working individuals are restricted the freedom in planning and living their normal lives around their jobs.
The consequences of working for businesses that practices on-call scheduling include increased stress and concern for transportation and childcare. While companies benefit financially from this arrangement, the invisible victims who are truly suffering are the children of these working parents. In an article for the New York Times, Noam Scheiber cites a 2005 study that covered the effects of on-call scheduling on children.
Professor Wen-Jui Han of New York University studied children during their first three years of life and factored for demographic variables including mother’s income, education, ethnicity and race.
The research found that children of mothers with nontraditional schedules scored lower on problem solving, spoken language tests and verbal comprehension than children of mothers who worked standard schedules. The reason for this disparity was the additional stress put on parents by their unstable hours. Han said:
“Parents try their best to attend to their children in a sensitive and warm manner, but the physical and emotional exhaustion from nonstandard schedules makes it difficult.”
Another significant factor was quality childcare. Children of mothers with unpredictable work schedules were much less likely to be enrolled in a quality day care center during early childhood, an especially crucial time for cognitive development.