We are always working hard to be our best selves for our kids, making sure to spend lots of time with them, cooking healthy meals, making sure they have enough toys for creative play, keeping the house clean, buying them clothes, helping them learn and so, so, so, much more. One thing that many parents do not do enough of, is take time out for themselves. It can almost seem selfish taking time away from your kids to go to the spa or hang out with friends, but when you do, you come back to them a better parent. You are more relaxed, easy, and present.
Take time out for self-care this week and be a better parent today.
Taking time to exercise can totally change your mood from frazzled and stressed out to feeling relaxed and full of endorphins. The Mayo Clinic says that exercise can release chemicals that make you feel happy and relieve stress and that exercise can help you build confidence. Whether you take a half hour to go to the gym or take a walk, that time can help you relax and release stress. If you hook a trailer on the back of your bike, or have them walk or ride along with you, it’s a relaxing time to spend with your child while also caring for yourself.
Get a Babysitter
It may feel like spending time away from your child to do things for yourself is not good parenting. But every time you do, you come back to your child more focused and less stressed. Whether you work at home or work outside of the house, scheduling a couple hours a week with a babysitter lets you spend time doing things for yourself. It may be tempting to take this time to clean the house or run errands, but fight that temptation. Instead, meet your friends for drinks, get a pedicure, read a book, take a nap, or spend kid-free time with your partner.
Getting a babysitter can be good for your kids too. Especially if you have a fun auntie or uncle, a doting grandparent that is willing to babysit, that time is a fun treat that your kids can look forward to.
Being with your kids is rewarding, but it can be draining intellectually. You may find yourself struggling to find things to talk about with your friends that are not child-related. To combat this, take a class at a local community college or university, join a book club, or just take time to read or watch the news.
Find what stimulates your mind, and take time for it. Even if you spend 20 minutes reading the newspaper every day, it will help you relax and participate in the world. Experts say reading the newspaper to your children, or asking them to read to you is a great way to develop their literacy and start conversations.
Let your Kids Entertain Themselves
We asked some Imagine Toy Company moms what they do to take care of themselves. Jessica says, “When I'm with them, I remind myself that I don't have to entertain them 100% of the time. Teaching them self-play by asking them to find ways to play and entertain themselves allows me time to read, clean, etc., while they're there. So it's not separate from them, but the more they learn to do so, it gives me time and also allows them to learn skills going forward.”
If your child is old enough, especially if you have more than one kid, letting them play by themselves is a great way for you to have extra time for yourself. Even if you have an only child, letting your child be bored pays off in spades as they get older. They develop more creativity and self-sufficiency than kids who never have the chance to be bored.
Time for You
Take time for yourself, reading, spending time with friends, and doing things you love for your sake and your kids’.