Working too hard? Find that everything is a rush and life is not much fun anymore? If this sounds familiar you need our top tips for stress free parenting.
Parenting can be amazing, uplifting and rewarding however it can also be exhausting, worrying, and nearly always stressful. Parenting stress can strain everyone.
Stress is so common nowadays with our rush to fit in everything and not giving ourselves enough time to do anything properly. How are you? ‘Stressed’ is the response. Even children say it ‘Stop stressing me out’. We use it as a word for busy. And busy and stressful get intertwined but the bottom line is life is stressful so learning how to avoid stress and making parenting less stressful has to help.
Depending on the age of your child it’s not something that goes away and new stresses replace old – as your children change and develop. There are so many stresses that you can have as a parent from children not eating, worrying about health issues, managing behaviour tantrums and not having enough time to do anything.
So here are our top 15 tips for stress free parenting:
- Try and keep calm. Ask yourself does it really matter, will it matter this time next week, if the answer is no, then let go and move on.
- Mealtimes. Make mealtimes less stressful by having five favourite meals up your sleeve that everyone eats (even the fussy eater). Have the ingredients in the cupboard or freezer so that you have a ‘go to meal’ that take the stress out of the decision making at mealtimes.
- Manage your own expectations of behaviour. It’s so easy to forget with the second child what is expected age related behaviour. When a sibling comes along, we expect them to behave like an older child so take a step back and ask yourself is your expectation realistic.
- After school clubs. Don’t say yes to everything and try and fix up a rota with some other parents that are on the same timetable as you. If you can’t manage the juggle of the pick up’s then reduce how many you allow. Try letting each child pick just one after school activity.
- Save time at bedtime by rethinking the bedtime story. Maybe you could listen to an audio book instead. While you sort out the laundry or tidy up their bedroom.
- Create some absolute must routines. So, when they come home from school instead of dumping everything in the hall way and running off to play/eat/watch TV/go on their tablet. Make sure know to put away their shoes, bags, coats. Help unload the dishwasher maybe or do specific jobs BEFORE they can do anything else that’s fun.
7. Manage expectations of behaviour and boundaries before you go somewhere. You know those meltdown moments or when you are trying to extract them from someone else house and they refuse to go? Talk to your child before you go somewhere and tell them how you expect them to behave and act. Tell them that there will be consequences if they do act up or refuse to leave.
8. Recognise that sometimes they are just trying to get your attention so if they are misbehaving and you are sat using your phone or on your laptop, cooking or doing something where they cannot catch your eye, make sure to check in with them before it gets to that point of no return. Be more present. Read our article here.
9. Recognise what triggers your stress if it’s not having enough time to get somewhere build more margin into your day. Give yourself more time and be kind to yourself.
10. Keep your diary really organised and as soon as you get a date for something put it in, preventing last minute rushes for remembering presents or when you have diary clash or have to be somewhere.
11. Don’t forget you. There’s nothing worse than transferring stress to your children. They copy your behaviour and before you know it you are dealing with their stress as well as your own.
If you need to destress get out and go for that walk. Block some time for yourself in the diary like you would for one of your children’s appointments. Never feel guilty for taking me time.
12. Need more time in the day? You can either do less and reduce your own expectations or you can either go to bed later or get up earlier. If you are juggling work then getting up earlier and joining the 6am club and getting those essential jobs done before anyone else is up can help you feel ahead of the day and reduce your stress. Be ready before anyone else. You’ll find your day is so much better if you are up and dressed before anyone else in the house is.
14. Try writing a gratitude journal and listing your achievements for the day so when you get to the end of the day and you are stressed and tired you can look back and reflect at how far you have come and what you have done. Rather than remembering all the bad stressy things.
15. Don’t get sucked in by everyone else highlights. If you don’t have time to do something then don’t do it. Fitting in too many things and lack of time is one of the big contributors to stress so make sure you have enough time.
What would you recommend?