Endoftheday strategies

• Be on time to pick up your baby, ifat all possible. Your child's caregiver may be eager to get home to her family as well. If you are going to be late and can't find someone else to pick up your baby, call and let your caregiver know. By treating her with respect, you are enhancing your working relationship. That will benefit your baby, and the end of the day will be more relaxed for all of you.

• Whenever you can, spend some time talking to the caregiver about your baby's day.

• Label your baby's clothes, bottles, and other belongings to make your end-of-the-day searching and gathering easier.

• Say goodbye to the caregiver with your baby. As your baby gets older, he and his caregiver will probably come up with their own goodbye ritual.

• Develop a "settling-in-at-home" ritual that fits both your needs and your baby's. Your natural inclination may well be to spend time with your baby. But he may be hungry and need dinner before you spend time together as a family. You and your spouse may decide to prepare dinner, feed the cat, and do the chores in shifts, allowing each of you one-on-one time with the baby. If you are a single parent, you will always need to figure out how to balance attending to chores and spending time with your baby. The key factor is your awareness of what works best for you and your baby.

• You may want to put off time with your spouse, discussion about your day, even dinner, until you have focused on your baby and gotten him fed and settled.

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