Kids are the most wonderful part of our lives – yet sometimes they can be at the root of some of our most intense moments of stress. If we didn’t care so much, didn’t love them so intensely, we probably wouldn’t react to some of the things they do with the same type of anger and worry that we feel.
Parenting stress doesn’t have to ruin your bond with your child. In fact, the steps you take to reduce stress can help strengthen the closeness you both feel to one another. As a parent, it’s important that you take care of yourself so that you have the energy and clarity to be a good parent.
Kids experience stress, too – at any age – so when you work on reducing your own stress, try to incorporate techniques that both of you can do to feel better. The activities you do may depend on their age.
If you have little ones, and the terrible twos are wearing you down, try spending some time playing with your toddler. You can paint, draw, blow bubbles, or play outside and relax instead of worrying about temper tantrums, potty training, and finicky eating habits.
If your child’s a bit older, you might go on a walk together and talk about the things you encounter. Kids love spending time outdoors and they’re fascinated by small animals and plants. Try starting a garden in the backyard with them and letting them help you grow fruits and vegetables.
Teenagers can be the hardest ones to deal with when it comes to parenting stress. They get to a point where they’re testing their boundaries with you. Find things the two of you can enjoy, like listening to music together or going to the mall to do some shopping.
Of course, as a parent, it’s important that you spend some time alone, getting away from it all. But it’s equally important that you monitor your child’s stress levels, too, and ensure they aren’t reacting to their anxiety in a way that will harm themselves or others.
As a family, you can all participate in activities that will be stress-relievers for everyone. Take the dog to a dog park, go to a fun park like Six Flags where there’s something for every age.
Eat dinner together and talk about your day – and do it without scolding your kids while they eat. Dinner should be a time when they open up to you and you help them solve the problems they face. It’s a great way to allow everyone time to share their feelings and gain the support they need – including you!