2005 Research into FIFO families was on track!

“Aeroplanes always come back” (so too do trains, cars and buses!)
(Cory, aged 3)A trainload of coal miners returning from work

Corey’s statement graced the cover of a research report completed in 2005. This report from Murdoch University in WA, has more relevance for the FIFO family debate than anything else I’ve read in the past month. It is clear, concise and full of practical suggestions for FIFO families.

Fly-in fly-out employment: managing the parenting transitions
Dr Danielle Gallegos
Centre for Social and Community Research
Murdoch University 2005

See full findings at

My favourites findings:

“The partners in this study had developed a range of strategies to deal with the difficulties they experienced. These included:


• _recognition by workers that the “job” at home was a difficult one and was of significant value;


• _maintaining open communication lines regarding the continuation of fly-in fly-out;


• _parting on good terms;


• _maintaining a positive attitude.”

For the kids

“In the majority of cases couples felt they could institute strategies that helped their children come to terms with the lifestyle. These included:


• _explaining fly-in fly-out and the reasons for doing it in terms children understood;


• _giving the children space to express their feelings;


• _facilitating ongoing telephone contact;


• _concentrating on the positives;


• _talking about the worker on a daily basis while they were away;


• _having photographs of the worker in the house and beside the child’s bed;


• _putting the worker’s voice on the answering machine and playing it on the loud speaker;


• _giving children and the worker space to reconnect.




With these strategies in place few families had any difficulties with ensuring that children and the workers reconnected when they returned.”







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