Here’s a radical idea – parenting is easier when you make time for yourself too. This is a concept that doesn’t get acknowledged as much as it should, as for many of us our focus on the needs of our family takes priority over our own needs. Constantly dealing with challenging behavior and setting limits can be exhausting, but if you balance your needs with the needs of your children, it might make just make you a more effective parent!
Not convinced? Think of it like this: if you’ve ever been on a plane ride, you’ll remember that little safety demonstration prior to take-off. The flight attendant instructs you that in the event of an emergency, those little oxygen masks will come down in front of you to help you breathe. You are told to put your mask on first, and then your child’s. Why – because you will be far more effective at helping your child if you are getting what you need first (in this case oxygen). This idea can be applied to parenting as well – raising children is time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming, some days it might be all you do. It takes time, effort, and a LOT of energy. By taking care of yourself mentally and physically, you can build up the patience, energy and optimism you need to be a great parent.
Here are some key points to consider when taking care of you!
- Have realistic and reasonable expectations of yourself and your child. Talking to other parents and professionals can help remind you that there’s no such thing as a perfect parent (or a perfect child)!
- Stand up to negative thoughts. It’s easy to become overwhelmed as a parent. So, try to be aware of negative “self-talk” so you can counter it with helpful, positive thoughts.
- Find a good balance between work, family, and other commitments. Decide which ones are priorities and which ones you might limit. This can apply to children’s activities too!
- Identity your superhero team! Getting some support from family and friends can make it easier for you to tackle those tough parenting tasks.
- Try to fit in some time to look after your own needs. Time with friends, sleep, a hot bath, or walking outdoors can re-fuel your tank for the parenting journey.
Remember, all children misbehave at times and part of your job as a parent is setting limits. Looking after yourself as a parent can make that job a little easier on both of you. You’ll feel better about yourself and your role as a parent and your relationship with your family will become much more rewarding.
If you would like to meet other parents, or speak with professionals with expertise in child development and family support, visit the Programs page of our website to see what we offer!