While having children can be a fun and fulfilling adventure, parenting can be one of the most stressful responsibilities that you face. Here, the early childhood education professionals at Celebree describe strategies to help you cope with the stresses of parenting.
Being responsible for the safety, growth, wellbeing and proper development of a child is a monumental task. We all have a desire to see our children grow up in happy households that promote a sense of love and positivity. Unfortunately, this is not always the case—stressors in and outside of the home build, and can have a severe effect on your health, and your family’s, if not addressed in a healthy way.
Here are some strategies that you can employ to help you mitigate the common stresses of parenting:
Maintain Good Physical Health
There are many connections between physical and mental health, meaning that the stresses of parenting, and other life stresses, can be reduced greatly by taking proper care of your health. According to an APA study, 34% of overweight or obese parents believed that their lives were extremely stressful, as compared to 23% of parents who exhibited a weight within normal standards. Furthermore, children often mirror their parent’s health choices, good or bad. Making smarter nutritional choices, practicing wellness and consistently exercising will not only improve your health and relieve much of your stress, but will also improve the quality of life of your children.
Make Your Home a Stress-Free Environment
It may be easier said than done, but there are many ways to reduce the stress in your home. Our brains absorb messy atmospheres as stress, so keeping a clean, organized living space can go a long way to promoting a sense of calm. Make it a daily ritual to hang up your coat, put away the dishes, and make the bed, as these little activities go a long way to keeping the house looking neat and clearing your mind of unnecessary clutter. When at home, try to unplug as much as possible: cellphones, computers, and TVs are huge sources of worry, from upsetting phone calls and unanswered emails to distressing news stories. Connect with your children and partner instead.
Talk About It
Some stresses are best reduced by voicing them. Having a trusted friend or family member to speak casually with about your life can help you deal with stress and find solutions to problems. For some people, journaling can provide a similar avenue of stress relief. It is also important to make sure your children feel able to air stresses in their life with you: encourage children who seem upset or chronically fatigued to talk with you about their lives and worries.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Deep breathing, mental visualization and counting internally are all great ways to relax amid stressful events. Outside of stressful events, meditation, yoga and stretching are all great ways to relax your body and promote a sense of wellbeing. Finding a hobby that you find relaxing and enjoyable is another pathway to relaxation, whether it be reading, writing, gardening, tinkering in the garage or any other activity that requires you to slow down and focus. Plan time in your schedule to do things that help you relax and make you feel happy—you may even consider inviting your children to join in on these relaxing moments as well.
Parenting has its joys, but comes with many stresses as well. By employing some of the strategies detailed above, you can better manage the stresses of life and parenting which will in turn allow you to enjoy the experiences that you have with your family.
For additional parent resources or more information about Celebree’s infant, toddler, preschool or school-age educational programs, contact us today!