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Topics: Couples, Family, Mental Health



The demands of childcare can be challenging for all families. Shiftwork, shift changes, and overtime hours mean that PSP families can face more complex situations. These demands can pile up and overwhelm PSP families.

  • Evidence shows that police officers, firefighters, and paramedics and their SSOs identified shiftwork as creating childcare conflicts and negatively impacting family relationships.1,2,3
  • Childcare is often not available outside of the standard work day so it is difficult to arrange when one or both partners work shifts. Alternate childcare can be expensive, and parents may rely on extended family for support.
  • Childcare scrambles occur when the work schedules of parents overlap and are characterized by inconsistent and poorer quality childcare arrangements.

Coparenting and tag-team parenting


  • Parents work together to coordinate childcare responsibilities.
  • Learn more about coparenting.

Tag-team parenting

  • Common coparenting method used by households where two or more parents work outside the home.
  • Tag-team parents alternate between parenting responsibilities and paid employment so that one parent is always available for childcare.
  • Learn more about parenting in dual career households.

Career and life-cycle stages


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References for this page (click to expand)

1Brodie, P. J., & Eppler, C. (2012). Exploration of perceived stressors, communication, and resilience in law-enforcement couples. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 23(1), 20-41. https://doi.org/10.1080/08975353.2012.654082  

2Regehr, C. (2005). Bringing the trauma home: Spouses of paramedics. Journal of Loss & Trauma, 10(2), 97-114. https://doi.org/10.1080/15325020590908812  

3Watkins, S. L., Shannon, M. A., Hurtado, D. A., Shea, S. A., & Bowles, N. P. (2021). Interactions between home, work, and sleep among firefighters. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 64(2), 137-148. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.23194  

4Myers, & Booth, A. (1996). Men’s retirement and marital quality. Journal of Family Issues, 17(3), 336–357. https://doi.org/10.1177/019251396017003003  

Boyd-Swan, C. H. (2019). Nonparental child care during nonstandard hours: Does participation influence child well-being? Labour Economics, 57, 85-101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.labeco.2019.01.006  

Lambert, E. G., Hogan, N. L., & Barton, S. M. (2004). The nature of work-family conflict among correctional staff: An exploratory examination. Criminal Justice Review (Atlanta, Ga.), 29(1), 145-172. https://doi.org/10.1177/073401680402900109 

Lero, D. S., Prentice, Susan, Friendly, Martha, Richardson, Brooke and Fraser, Ley. . (2019). Non-standard work and child care in Canada: A challenge for parents, policy makers, and child care provision. https://childcarecanada.org/sites/default/files/Non-Standard%20Work%20and%20Child%20Care%2C%20revised%20June%202021.pdf 

Strazdins, L., Clements, M. S., Korda, R. J., Broom, D. H., & D’Souza, R. M. (2006). Unsociable work? Nonstandard work schedules, family relationships, and children’s well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68(2), 394-410. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00260.x  

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