Nonstandard Work Schedules, Couple Desynchronization, and Parent-Child Interaction: A Mixed-Methods Analysis
Täht K., Mills M.
Many children live in households where either one or both parents work nonstandard schedules in the evening, night, or weekend. This study tests two competing hypotheses of whether nonstandard schedules result in lower levels of parent-child interaction or in more time with children. Using the first wave of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study of 1,266 couples with young children and data from semistructured individual (N = 27) qualitative interviews of respondents with children, the authors engage in a series of ordered logit regression models and qualitative correspondence and narrative analysis. The central finding is that nonstandard schedules are significantly related to an increase in joint activities of parents and children and caregiving for fathers. Qualitative interviews reveal strategies families develop to maintain alternative times and types of contact. Couples use nonstandard schedules to desynchronize schedules to avoid formalized child care and engage in "tag-team parenting" to ensure that one parent is always present. © The Author(s) 2012.