Many parents feel guilty going back to work when their kids are young. As if new moms and dads didn’t already have enough to worry about, a study has shown that babies of parents with unpredictable work schedules performed poorer on problem solving, verbal comprehension and spoken language tests than those with parents whose schedules could be depended upon.

The take-away is threefold: parents’ stress is bad for little ones, babies need lots of attention that parents who do shift-work can’t provide, and kids whose parents’ schedules change don’t tend to be part of organized group socialization such as school or playgroup.

Some employers such as Starbucks and Abercrombie have pledged to make schedules friendlier but if you feel your job is creating a negative atmosphere for your child then consider ways you can improve his or her well being by doing things like hiring a tutor or setting up play dates.

Have you had experience with shift work and young children? Any tips to make it easier?



  1. Science of Us: How Parents’ Unpredictable Work Schedules Harm Kids
  2. The New York Times: Working Anything but 9 to 5