As a parent, I found one of the most challenging things is my children are always watching my every step. Their little eyes are taking cues about how I handle the ups and downs that come into our family’s life. Whether I am stressed out because we are running late for an appointment or the way I treat someone else when I am feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by the unexpected turn of events in my day, they are always watching me.
The way we handle stress, especially in unhealthy ways, is how we teach our children to do the same. Managing our lives can sometimes be difficult but despite the unexpected twists and turns, there can still be joy that overshadows the constant craziness that fills our home. There are some simple ways and strategies to keep you organized when you feel the stress coming out.
Check out these 10 Parenting Tips for Stress-Free Families!
1. Make a Meal Plan
Planning every single night what the family is going to eat for dinner can be very stressful. There are many things to consider, especially if life gets busy with extracurricular activities and school. To simplify and reduce the stress in your family when it comes to feeding them make a meal plan. Get the family together and agree on seven meals that everyone would eat and rotate these same meals every week. It will make shopping for groceries and meal planning efficient and easier on you.
2. Simplify Life
Most of us take on more than we can ever handle. It’s hard to say no as we fear our others will resent us if we didn’t say “yes” to them. There is no shame in trimming your commitments down to things that are more essential or reduce your stress. Replacing your commitment with an enjoyable activity can really do wonders for making you and your family life stress free.
3. Wake Up Early
Getting up early before the kids can make all the different in how the rest of your day goes. Your mornings will feel a lot smoother in the morning when you are ready to walk out the door before the kids wake up.
4. Meet Together Weekly
Before the week begins, on Sunday nights at dinnertime after everyone is finished eating and leaves the table, I like to have a family meeting. We talk about any appointments or activities everyone has. What we are having for dinner or anything else that is planned on our family schedule. A family meeting at the beginning of every week lets everyone in the loop of what is going on and to help reduce any stress of unexpected events that happen.
5. Take Some Me Time
Take time to unwind by taking five to ten minutes of me time. You can relax by exercising, gardening, or doing whatever makes you feel relaxed. Never feel selfish for taking time for yourself, especially if you are a working parent or a stay-at-home parent. We all need some “me time” no matter how small it might be.
6. Stock Up on Grab-and-Go Snacks
When your kids need something quick to grab before heading out the door, it’s always a good idea to stock up on some grab and go snacks. You can purchase snacks like crackers, chips, carrots, and grapes. If the kids are old enough, they can help divide the snacks into plastic snack bags. Store the snacks in your pantry or destinated snack area.
7. Create Routines
Routines are a great way to reduce stress in your family. Create a family routine for everything. You can have one for after school, before bedtime, or before the kids go off and have their playtime. Routines that never change make the flow of every day a breeze and stress free!
8. Start a Happy Jar
It’s easy to focus on the negative and forget the positive moments. When something brings a smile to your day, jot it down on a piece of paper and put it in your happy jar. At the end of every month or year, you can read them together and remember the good moments that occurred.
9. Get Support
Our children keep us from running from every morning to night. If you are needing a break, ask someone for help. Make friends with other parents who will help swap with school drop offs and pickups. You can even make an afternoon homework club that moves from each house every day to help each other out. We as parents aren’t meant to raise our kids alone, so get support from new parent friends or extended family!
10. Forget Perfection
Aiming for constant perfection will always create ongoing stress. Don’t listen to those internalized voices saying you are never good enough. You are always good enough. If you are too tired to clean up the house before guest arrive allow yourself to do the best you can do to be good enough. If you are too tired to make a homemade meal for the family and want to order a pizza, do it!