Taking Some of the Stress Out of 24/7 Parenting
Leisurely pace? Not so much the reality for most of today’s parents, right? We’re up and on the run sometimes before the sun, as are our kids. But on-the-go doesn’t necessarily have to equate to overwhelming. With a little pre-planning, savvy strategy, and a good sense of humor, you and your crew can take those hurried days in stride.
Here are a few goof-proof tips for on-the-go parents:
1. You First: Have yourself READY to walk out the door BEFORE your kids wake up. I know it’s hard but when you’re rushing around to get ready and trying to herd them out the door - it rarely ends well. By getting up a little earlier, pulling yourself together, and being fully caffeinated BEFORE the kids are even up – you’ll be a lot CALMER, more in the moment, and ready for anything. And when you’re calmer – they’ll be calmer and more cooperative.
2. Delegate: Give your kids a job. For example, if you’re going to grocery store - give your kids their own list such as three apples, two cucumbers and one box of granola bars, etc. When they have some “control” over the event, they’re much less likely to be difficult and you’ll find checking things off YOUR list a whole lot easier.
3. Set Expectations: Before you even walk out the door, share the ground rules for the task ahead and take the wind out of the power struggle in advance. For example, “We’re going to the grocery store for these ten items on the list. If there’s anything else you want to buy - be sure to bring your allowance!”
4. Build in Some Breaks: Many of us tend to over-task our calendars – especially during busy times of year (like right now)! As long as you’re time blocking anyway – be sure to block some down-time as well. Even if it’s 15-20 minutes here and there - it gives you and your kids a reprieve you can look forward to in the midst of all the running.
5. Be Kind to Yourself: Unfortunately, most parents are way too hard on themselves. If they don’t get to everything on their list, if they miss an appointment, if they forget something at the store, if they lose their patience – they see it as a failure. From one crazy, forgetful parent to another – please…be at LEAST as kind to yourself as you are to others. Parenting in today’s chaotic world is no walk in the park. It’s all right if something goes wrong. The world has enough critics – you don’t need to be your own biggest one.
6. Laugh Often. When things go awry, or sideways, or just as expected – enjoy the moments. LAUGH OUT LOUD. Teach your kids that humor is SO healing and healthy. Teach them, by example, that when bad things happen we don’t have to go with them. When you do – you not only teach them not to take themselves too seriously – but also how to be RESILIENT in the face of whatever comes their way.
We can’t always change the rapid pace of our lives, but we can manage it with the right tools and mindsets. So this week, as you’re grabbing that to-go cup, filing the kids out the door, and headed to the first of many stops along the way – remember these six stress-saving ideas to make life and parenting a little easier. ENJOY!
Amy McCready's new book is "The 'Me, Me, Me' Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World." Learn more at AmyMcCready.com.