Working the night shift with young children?

  1. Hello, Im a new graduate getting ready to begin working a 7 pm to 7 am shift. Im worried that I may not have much time to spend with my children since I will be working when they are sleeping and sleeping when they are awake. Of course I will have 4 days off a week but Im wondering if my internal clock will be all out of wack if I wanted to stay up during the days on my days off. Anyone working this shift have any thoughts on the subject? Does it take getting use to?

    Thanks LIsa
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Kim44
    I work steady nights. If I worked days, my daughter would be sleeping when I left and in bed again when I get home.

    On my last shift, she goes to the sitter for a few hours while I sleep, then I pick her up around noon. I usually go to bed early that night.

    It wasn't that hard to adjust, my body was exhausted, I could sleep anytime that I needed too. :chuckle
  4. by   traumaRUs
    I worked night for 15 years until my kids were out of high school. It was hard at first, but then you got used to it. I prefer nights to evenings because you still see the kids in the afternoon right after school and I thought it was important I was home with them at that time.
  5. by   KacyLynnRN
    I worked the 7pm-7:30am shift for 8 months and they were the longest months of my life! I was never a 'night owl' to begin with, so starting out on night shift was probably a mistake anyway. I felt like a zombie the entire 8 mos. no matter how much I slept. And I don't have kids so I'm not sure how that would have affected things. A lot of my coworkers that did well on night shift said that they loved it and would never work any other shift. Most of them said they were 'night owls' and didn't mind staying up all night. My advice is, try it for awhile...I think about 6 months is enough time to decide if it's for you. My best advice: work the 3 12's in a row if you can, that way when you are done you have several days off to 'catch up' on sleep...and make sure there is a room in your house that has a comfortable bed and very little or no sunlight...this helps tremendously...Good luck!
  6. by   CHATSDALE
    It Can Be Done Sleep While They Are At School Or Daycare You Have A While To Do Homework And Have Supper Together It Is Not A Ideal Situation But Making Do Is Part Of Being A Parent
  7. by   sr.shirley
    Quote from leisa22
    Hello, Im a new graduate getting ready to begin working a 7 pm to 7 am shift. Im worried that I may not have much time to spend with my children since I will be working when they are sleeping and sleeping when they are awake. Of course I will have 4 days off a week but Im wondering if my lpninternal clock will be all out of wack if I wanted to stay up during the days on my days off. Anyone working this shift have any thoughts on the subject? Does it take getting use to?

    Thanks LIsa
    Hi Lisa,
    It is difficult to get your internal time clock set without having to set it at a consistent time so you can imagine how it will be to do so when you work these hrs. My question is, are you given at least two nights off in a row..or are your nights off four in a row? I have worked the night shift for about 8 years, but I have no children to look after. I find that if you are given at least two nights off in a row I feel better, but i have worked weeks where I am on for three, off for one and on for three, depending on when your week begins and your weekends on. I work a 32 hr. week and most of the time I find that I am on 6 out of seven days with a three day stretch off following somewhere in between. I work a 8 1/2 day. You will have a heck of a time sleeping, even with dark curtains, especially on weekends when your neighbors and their children are out and about. There's always someone mowing their grass, Plowing snow (remember you have to go in, no snow days) children playing LOUDLY and the fact that you have to sleep on a beautiful day or a holiday!) This shift allows you to be there for your children but it is very hard on your health...as documented in the Nursing Journal. If at all possible get your experience on this shift (you will have many learning and trying times, but you will feel more capabable as each goes by, obviously your employer felt that you could handle the medical situations that will arise on the late/night shift.) Make youself known, and get on a better shift....Mainly for yourself...this is a very hard shift!
    Sincerely,
    Shirley Burton LPN (Charge Nurse- night shift)
  8. by   Rapheal
    It depends on how much sleep you need and how much uninterupted sleep you can get each day. I can't do it. My need for sleep increases when I have worked nights. Working days I only need 6 hours of sleep to function. On nights I need about 8 or 9. Everyone is different. Hope all goes well with your new job.
  9. by   leisa22
    Thanks for all your advice and sharing your experiences!

    Lisa
  10. by   MelissaRN
    I've been working nights since I graduated a year ago. I started out working 4 nine hour shifts (hated it) and then went to 3 twelves. The 12 hour shifts are better as I have extra night off but I still don't get the sleep I need especially on the weekends I have to work. During the weekends I work I am lucky to get 8 hour's sleep the whole weekend because my kids are home and are loud (not their fault). I am starting a mon-fri day job in the OR and even though I'll be getting home an two hours after the kids are out of school, it will be a better option for us all. They can go to after care for a couple hours and Mom won't be a zombie all the time.
  11. by   Truly_Blessed
    I have never worked a night shift in a medical setting...but i did work nights at my last job(only 8 hours). It was a bit strange. And took some getting used to. But I saw that I was able to spend time with my son, more than I wuld if I worked during the day. Also, the up side for me was being able to be with him on all of the holidays. Instead of 8 hours of sleep I would cut it to 4 or 5 hours of sleep on holidays. A small sacrifice to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family, or an Independance day bar-b-que I really liked it, although I got sick alot more. Of course I put foil all over my windows to get it as dark as possible. I handled the outside noise problem by turning on a pedestal fan. It would block out any noise from the next door neighbors. You never know...you might actually like the night shift. I for one love it. I think night shift workers are definately a different breed of people. Not everyone likes it or is able to handle it. Good luck to ya!
  12. by   missnurse01
    Yup, been doing nights here for about 7 years-it's doable for me. Personally, I can't do the three nights in a row. I need it split into 2 in a row, then a single in order to function-i.e. get 'enough' sleep. You will find your own rhythm! When I first started doing it i would sleep dead until i absolutely had to get up to get ready (pre-kids), but over the years have adapted to less. I remember my first job, living in an apt complex, and getting woken up by the facility gardener mowing-all i could think of was, how dare he be doing this in the middle of the day!!! I thought about opening my window and yelling at him!!
  13. by   Truly_Blessed
    Quote from missnurse01
    I remember my first job, living in an apt complex, and getting woken up by the facility gardener mowing-all i could think of was, how dare he be doing this in the middle of the day!!! I thought about opening my window and yelling at him!!
    I know huh? Some people have no respect for us night people!:chuckle
  14. by   DHnurse
    I worked nights for 6 months while I was in school. I really couldn't handle it. After graduating, I tried it again and again I couldn't take it. I had no problems while I was at work, it was just trying to sleep during the day that was difficult. My MIL kept stopping over. She would knock lightly but my dog would hear it and begin barking. She claimed she forgot what nights I work. The day I almost took off my neighbor's head when his car alarm went off was it for me. He is such a sweetheart and I felt so bad for yelling at him. My personality was changing and I felt like I was run over by a truck all the time. Maybe it will be better for you. Good luck.

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