Stay-at-home parents can reduce stress by maintaining good health, practicing good time management, giving time for themselves, and staying positive.
Stay-at-home parents are often wrongly labeled as having too much time on their hands. The opposite is true. While they don’t work outside the home, they put in 24 hours a day, dealing with stubborn and screaming kids, a house full of clutter, and possibly an unhelpful spouse.
Some stress management strategies for stay at home parents will come in very handy. Here are some ideas for full-time mums and dads to reduce stress.
Maintain Good Health
Parents can’t take care of their children or do any household chores efficiently unless they have and maintain good health. Many mums tend to put everyone else in the family first. While this is admirable, it can also adversely affect their health. That’s why it’s important for parents to eat healthily, exercise regularly, and have adequate rest.
One important stress management approach is to stop abusing the body. So try not to sleep late or get up too early to catch up with more household chores. Similarly, avoid skipping meals to save time.
Practice Good Time Management
Good time management is the key to reduce parenting stress. Organize and plan the day for various activities, working out meal times, playtimes, nap times, errands, and work times. It helps to actually write down these activities on paper and stick the notes on visible areas such as the refrigerator door or near the writing desk.
Some parents find devoting one part of the day exclusively to their children’s needs and entertainment extremely useful as well. That way, the children won’t feel neglected when Mum or Dad needs to attend to other tasks while they play alone.
More Time for Stay-at-home Parents
There is no need for stay-at-home parents to feel guilty about wanting and needing time for themselves. After all, at-home parenting is a demanding job that never ends. Engage the services of babysitters once in a while. Hire a cleaner if there is too much cleaning up to do.
Learn to say “no” to relatives and friends who assume that at-home parents are always available to help them.
It also helps to be deliberately unavailable at least sometime every day. That means no answering phone calls, no checking email, no tending to kids. A good downtime for parents is
when the kids are napping. As tempting as it is to do some extra household chores when the kids are sleeping, it will only stress parents more.
Think and Stay Positive
Too often, stressed parents keep thinking of what they don’t have, how much happier they would be if their kids behaved better or how nice it would be if they could afford a real housekeeper. Stop that. Instead, try to think and stay positive. The fact is parents in developed countries are far better than their counterparts in Third World countries who constantly worry about starvation, lack of medical supplies, preventable childhood diseases, and deaths. It will help stressed parents to focus on and be grateful for what they have instead of constantly thinking of what they don’t or can’t have.
While parenting stress is a big part of the lives of stay-at-home parents, they don’t have to live with it. These parents can manage stress by maintaining good health, practicing good time management, having more time for themselves as well as thinking, and staying positive.