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Thinking about if or when to return to work after having children is an important decision. It's a big step and there's a lot to think about, so it's normal if you feel a bit anxious. There are many things you can do to update your skills and present your time off in a positive light.

The National Careers Service can offer practical advice on returning to work. We have some great tools that can ease your journey back into work - a good place to start would be to develop an Action Plan.

Returning to work – your questions answered

"I'd like to return to my old job but I feel as though my knowledge and skills are out of date - how can I update them?" Commonly asked questions about returning to work are listed here.

Take your parenting skills into work

If you've been looking after children full-time, it can feel like your skills have been on hold since you left work. But this is not the case: you will have developed many useful skills that you can transfer into the workplace.

Have you considered part-time work?

If you want to go back to work you could consider taking a part–time job at first, especially if you've been off work for a number of years. It is normal to feel that going from full-time homemaker to having a full-time job and caring for your children is a big step to take.


A part-time job can help you to ease your way back in, fine-tune your skills and get used to the working world again. The advantages are that you will be able to keep in touch with the world of work but still spend plenty of time with your children. You might want to think about getting advice before changing your situation because it could affect your benefits. Your local Jobcentre Plus or Citizens Advice should be able to help with this.

Have you considered a part-time course?

If you want to learn new skills but have work or caring commitments, a part-time course could be an option for you. For part-time higher education courses you may qualify for funding to pay for the course fees, so there's nothing to pay upfront.


What help can I get to prepare me for going back to work?

If you're not ready for work just yet, you could try these steps to ease your way back into the working world: