No one wants to be that parent who yells all the time or who feels so stressed that they can’t enjoy the little things their kids do because they’re always worried about the big things. Yet so many of us fall into this way of parenting. As much as we promise ourselves we are going to be calm and at peace and listen before we react to anything, that’s not how it works a lot of the time. Angry outbursts will then lead to guilt and more worry and a child that has been upset for no real reason. Then the cycle starts again.
So how can we learn to be calmer parents? The truth is, there will always be situations and challenges that cause us to get stressed. However, the more we can understand what it takes to stay calm, the better equipped we will be to deal with these problems, and that makes a happier life for everyone, parent, and children. Read on to discover some useful tips on how to be a calmer parent. Remember, though, no one is perfect, and it just isn’t possible to be calm at all times – the key is to try, but not to criticize yourself too much if you can’t do it. Just move on and learn a lesson from the issue at hand.
Ask For Help
Asking for help isn’t something that everyone feels comfortable with, but when it comes to parenting, the old adage of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ does hold at least a little true. The saying really means that sometimes parents need help, and even if they feel it is their duty to do absolutely everything for their child despite the fact that it’s hard or they don’t know how, they should ask for that help when they need it.
Without asking for help, you can become overwhelmed, and this feeling will lead to anger, irritability, stress, anxiety, and potentially even depression. None of these conditions or feelings are conducive to being a calm parent.
When you are for help either from friends and family or from an expert such as a therapist or childminder, you are not telling people you are a failure, and you are not telegraphing the idea that you are weak or incapable in any way. What you are doing is recognizing that you don’t know everything and that getting advice at the very least, if not actual hands-on help, is a good idea.
Help can come in many forms, such as:
- Someone cleaning your home or cooking your meals
- Babysitting so you can rest or work or go out to the store without worrying
- Giving you advice on how to bathe, feed, clothe, swaddle, or change a baby. This could include information you weren’t aware of, such as crib mattress off-gassing
- Someone who can listen to your concerns and be there for you, even if they have no practical advice to give
Take Time For Yourself
It may sound counterproductive at first, but if you don’t take care of yourself, there is no way you can take care of your children, at least not in the calm, collected way you would want to. This means you might need to take some time away from them and just do something you want to do in order to recharge and reassess your ideals and your plan for how to act.
Interestingly, taking time away from your children is known to be a good thing for the kids as well. Not only are you going to return to them in a better mood or even with a different mindset, but they will learn not to be so dependent on you, which will make them more confident and more able to deal with their own challenges in life. Being with your child every single minute of every single day might seem like a wonderful thing at first, but it could lead to resentment, arguments, and the possibility that your child won’t develop all the skills they need in life.
You could choose to take a vacation by yourself, or with your partner, for example, leaving your child with a friend or family member who can look after them well. Or you might just need to go out for the day, perhaps to enjoy a spa day, watch a movie, or even simply to go for a walk in nature. Then again, you might just need an hour to yourself in the tub or listening to music so you can be calm and present for your children. You’ll know which option is best.
Take Care Of Your Health
When you have a lot to do, particularly when those tasks include taking care of someone else entirely and having complete responsibility for them because they can’t take care of themselves, it is easy to neglect your own health. You might go to bed late and get up early because you feel you have a lot to do, or you might feel sick but not go to the doctor or even find time to look for vitamin supplements. The problem is, doing these things – and plenty of similar ones – will only lead to more significant problems in the future.
If you neglect your own health, you could become much sicker than you would have done if you’d done something about it right at the start. Not only will you be unwell, but you will be unable to take care of your children at all. Plus, when you don’t take care of your own health, you aren’t teaching your child any good habits.
If you can put good healthcare practices in place, then you are much more likely to stay healthy, and therefore much more able to stay calm for your children. Eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough sleep, getting help when you’re sick, and so on will teach your children some excellent life lessons and will help you all greatly.