What are some positive ways to decrease burnout as a parent? There are a million and one things to do in a day as a parent; let one be for you so you can make a positive impact on your child[ren]. Being a parent is a rewarding and continuous responsibility with many different supporting roles. It is easy to feel and be overwhelmed with the responsibilities of parenting. Parental burnout can not only effects mothers but fathers too. Being aware of signs of parental burnout can help identify, prevent, and positively overcome it.
Here are 5 signs and symptoms to look out for and 4 strategies to prevent and/or cope with parental burnout:
5 signs of parental burnout:
- Decreased motivation for daily tasks
- Physical pains (joint pain, headaches, muscle pains)
- Brain fog
- Change in sleeping patterns
4 strategies to prevent and cope with parental burnout:
- Taking time out for self-care
- Deep breathing exercises: (breathing in deeply with diaphragm and exhaling twice as long with pursed lips)
- Take a break: Take time to sit in the car to listen to music or drink a cup of coffee/tea
- Walk-Take a brisk walk during kid’s appointments/at school or as a family around the block or at the park.
- Read a book-Read a few pages or a chapter right before bed or when kids are napping/sleeping
- Okay to say NO to other obligations: Don’t overbook yourself with extra events if possible
- Find a Support system
- Family: talking to immediate or extended family members by inviting them over for tea or coffee
- Friends: talking to friends through phone or messages
- Community groups: Mansfield’s Public Library has a Family Group & Allen has some events
- Online groups: Cutting Edge Pediatric Therapy has a Facebook page you can connect with groups or individuals
- Breaking down tasks
- Prioritize tasks to be done: Categorize each task under Urgent, Important, and It can wait.
- Do a load of laundry a day or clean 1 room a day in the house
- Have children help with age-appropriate chores
- Plan ahead
- Have a menu for the week: Have the children come up with dinner ideas
- Curbside grocery shopping to save time on most grocery store applications: Stay in the car and have groceries brought to your car and loaded
- Meal prep and freeze items: Soups can be stored in Ziploc freezer bags and stored flat for quick dinner and/or lunch
- Have supplies/clothes ready the night before: Have children pick out their outfits for the next day if possible and have shoes and backpacks in a designated spot
Putting oneself first and providing self-care may seem selfish but in conclusion, it is the best for the children. By providing care and carrying out the many supportive roles as a parent, without parental burnout, children will receive a greater quality of care. It is important for parents to find positive coping strategies to prevent and/or cope with parental burnout to be a more positive parent possible for their children.