IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Parents' irregular work schedules may put their children at risk

When parental work schedules shift frequently, a new study says the children in the family may suffer from depression and learning problems.
/ Source: TODAY

Working parents, here's another thing to stress over: Your irregular work schedule may have negative effects on your child's development.

That's according to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute that focuses on children whose parents have unusual work schedules that vary weekly, rotate or feature hours outside 8 a.m to 4 p.m.

Toddlers whose mothers hold schedules like those may suffer from problem-solving skills and their language skills may falter; teens are more likely to be depressed and engage in risky behavior. Meanwhile fathers risk having a less close relationship with their children.

Daughter Clinging To Working Mother's Leg
Daughter Clinging To Working Mother's Leg; Shutterstock ID 142027831; PO: Brandon for NewsShutterstock

"Parents need to have regular schedules for their children," says EPI research associate Richard Rothstein. "Children need to be read to before bedtime. They need high-quality early childhood experiences."

The study noted that at least 17 percent of the U.S. workforce has non-standard schedules.

The findings are particularly relevant now, as the national conversation focuses on lower-wage workers who are sometimes subject to last-minute changes in their hours known as "on-call scheduling."

New York's attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman recently inquired about on-call scheduling at 13 major companies, and Abercrombie & Fitch announced it will eliminate the practice.

Fortunately, a more regular schedule can change everything. "It makes a huge difference, because it allows a child to know that at least if mom or dad isn't home, they will be home," psychiatrist Dr. Charles Sophy told TODAY.

Follow Randee Dawn on Google+ and Twitter.