Mental Health and Parenting: 8 Top TipsOct 20, 2023
Parenthood can be one of the most demanding and rewarding roles in life. The well-being of our children is paramount, but it’s not uncommon to inadvertently neglect our own mental health while caring for our little ones.
All too often, caregivers put their needs second. However, as the backbone of the family unit, you must protect your well-being, too.
In this article, I explore practical and effective mental health tips for parents.
As a parent, if you feel empowered to nurture your own mental wellness, you’re in a much stronger position to provide a stable and supportive foundation for your children's emotional growth, too.
Here are my 8 top mental health tips for parents.
- Give yourself some breathing room
- Seek social support
- Relax those standards a little
- Establish a balanced routine
- Limit screen time
- Try mindful activities
- Move your body
- Seek professional help
Give yourself some breathing room
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not going to be able to keep spinning all those plates. You need to give yourself some space to pause and regroup.
Whether it’s carving out some time for self-care, engaging in an activity that brings you joy, or simply giving yourself permission to scale back the commitments until you feel less overwhelmed, it’s important to prioritize yourself.
Seek social support
Feelings of stress, anxiety, or overwhelm can be very isolating. But you don’t have to feel like you’re alone with your struggles. Reaching out to friends, family, and even parenting groups can be a great source of support. They say a problem shared is a problem halved, so don’t be afraid to find a support network that works for you and lean on others when you need to.
Relax those standards a little
Sometimes as parents, we can be our own worst enemies and hold ourselves to such high expectations. We teach our kids that it’s ok to make mistakes and learn from them, so remember to practice what you preach. Avoid pressuring yourself to be a perfect parent.
Establish a balanced routine that works for your family
When we’re feeling overwhelmed, routine can be one of the first things to go out of the window. However, establishing a daily routine that has clear boundaries and expectations for the whole family can provide some structure and consistency in the frenzy of everyday life.
Take baby steps if you need to. Trying to overhaul the entire family routine may add yet another responsibility to your plate. Work out what’s a priority and what’s going to be most impactful to tackle first. Is it a bedtime routine, sorting out the kid’s screen time, or getting the whole family involved in sharing the chores?
Check out some of the guides I’ve created to help you tackle difficult parenting scenarios and set healthy boundaries with digital devices.
Limit screen time
Setting limits on screen time for both you and your children is really important. Being constantly connected to all that digital devices have to offer is not beneficial for adults or kids alike.
We’re all too aware of how excessive screen time can contribute to stress and anxiety. So, limit the time that your kids are spending on their devices (and ensure you’re leading by example while you’re at it).
Read my handy guide to what the screen time limits are for kids based on their age.
Try mindful activities
Practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress and give you some much-needed head space. There are lots of activities that can help promote mindfulness, so it’s simply a matter of finding one that works for you.
You could try meditation, yoga, crafting, painting, or even gardening to help bust some of those stress levels. If you want to get the whole family involved, you can find great mindful activities for kids online, too.
Move your body
Engaging in some form of regular physical activity not only benefits your physical health but also has a positive impact on your mental well-being. It can be as gentle or strenuous as you like. You could take a fitness class, try something that’s also mindful, like yoga, or get the kids to benefit too, and head out on a nature walk together.
Seek professional help if you need to
Just like with your physical health, there comes a point when you may need to seek professional help to resolve an issue. If you're experiencing persistent feelings of anxiety, depression, or overwhelm, speaking to a doctor, therapist, or counselor can help you navigate what you’re going through.
Remember, taking care of your own mental health is not only beneficial for you, but it also sets a powerful example for your children. By prioritizing your well-being, you're also teaching them the importance of self-care and emotional well-being, which are invaluable life lessons.
Dr. Elizabeth Milovidov is an online safety advisor and digital parenting expert. If you would like to know more about how Elizabeth can help your parenting group or organization with her expertise, visit the Parenting Events & Workshops page.
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