Written by Laurie Lafortune
Parenting is stressful, and parents need to deliberately make an effort to manage stress in order to be successful parents. There are many ways to that parents can take care of themselves and manage their own stress, in order to provide children with the most supportive environment possible. One important thing to do is to encourage parents to get their home and routine organized.
Ask parents to think about certain times of day that they find the most stressful or chaotic. For many of us, it’s the morning rush-trying to get everyone to have breakfast, make school lunches, organize backpacks, and have everyone on their way in time for school or work. If the mornings are typically filled with arguments, demands, frantic searching for a parent permission form or required item for school, shoes or jacked, then it’s time to get organized.
The easiest way to address the morning chaos is to get organized the night before. Get the lunches made, pack the backpacks, have the next days clothes, shoes and jackets laid out for the morning. Check that all homework and school items are done, to avoid tears and meltdowns. If you and your children get this done before a bedtime snack and story, you’ll find the next day much less stressful.
Another tough time of day for parents is just before supper. Everyone is tired from their day at school, daycare or work, and everyone is hungry. Patience can wear thin. These suggestions might help. Have nutritious snacks on hand to help bridge the time until supper. Allow time for everyone to wind down, without too many demands. Try to keep your home fairly quiet at this time. Children (and adults) may need some alone time doing a quiet activity without anyone bothering them, but sometimes children don’t realize that they’ve been overstimulated and need this quiet time. Try to set up routines of quieter, solitary activities if this is what your children seem to need.
So try to identify the toughest, most stressful times of day in your family routine. Some small changes can make a big difference for you and your children.