Parents: Stop the ‘back to school’ blues affecting you too
Going back to school can be an anxious time for kids, but it doesn’t come without stress for parents too. The mere thought of returning to those school runs, ferrying kids to sports and helping out with homework that even you don’t quite understand is enough to bring on the post-summertime blues. That’s why self-care is vital – look after yourself so you can be the best parent possible.
1. Eat right
It’s important to find the time during your morning dash for a decent breakfast. Porridge is a healthy way to the start the day in a hurry, while it’s a good idea to have pre-prepared smoothies waiting for you in the fridge. At mealtimes, put as much effort into organising something nutritious for yourself as you do for your children.
2. Find time for yourself
From taking 10 minutes at lunch to engage in a little mindfulness to indulging in a relaxing bath rather than a rushed shower, pausing to catch your breath is important. Why not get a babysitter while you escape the house for a few hours and catch a movie? Not spending every possible second with your child is nothing to feel guilty about. The recharging effect will, in fact, ensure it’s truly quality time when you return.
3. Stay active
Dwindling free time and shorter days can lead you to abandon the walks, hikes and runs you were enjoying during the summer months but keeping an emphasis on exercise will benefit both your body and mind. That doesn’t necessarily mean high-impact gym sessions – a daily walk can make a difference. If you can find an active hobby you genuinely enjoy, such as yoga, all the better.
4. Get organised
Putting a steady weekly routine in place will let the kids know where they stand and give them a sense of security, but also bring some order to your own scramble. A kitchen whiteboard can be an invaluable planner for the week ahead, ensuring you never miss a commitment. Meanwhile, evenings are the prime time to get lunches, uniforms and school books prepared. Better to do it relaxed at 8pm on a Sunday night than panicked at 8am on a Monday morning.
5. Work as a team
The old ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine isn’t advisable when it comes to mum and dad laying down the law. In fact, a recent study linked this parenting style to potential health implications for children. You’ll feel the strain, too, if you end up constantly being the disciplinarian.
When it comes to co-parenting, remember to present a united front regardless of your personal relationship. Beyond the parental unit, don’t be afraid to reach out to family and friends for help if you’re under stress.
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