No matter how hard we try to keep our children happy and healthy, our kids are still not happy or healthy - they are stressed. Research shows that children easily pick up on the mood of the parent, and this can impact the stress-level of the child, resulting in migraines and increased risk of allergies, obesity and mental disorders.
Stressful situations can arise in even the most child-centered activities, and often occur because the parent gets anxious or frustrated. What can we do to keep stress at bay? Here are a few suggestions broken into two categories - for kids and for parents.
- Limit the amount of time the child spends watching television (and also pay close attention to the shows that the child is watching - remember the Spongebob story from a couple weeks ago?)
- Spend time talking with, reading to, and playing with the child. People of all ages enjoy getting attention from the people that they love - this applies to kids, too!
- Go for a stroll outdoors. The fresh air and sunshine can melt away stress almost instantaneously, and research shows that spending time outdoors daily can be really beneficial to your health.
- Involve the child in daily housework. Kids love to help out, especially in the kitchen or laundry.
- It is often difficult for a child to identify their feelings, and this can result in a breakdown for child and adult (and anyone else in a half-mile radius from the frustrated child!) The Kimochi line of toys helps your child identify their feelings, and provides them with an adorable toy to love and hug when mommy or daddy are otherwise engaged.
- Don't forget that you have needs, too! Find someone to watch the kids so that you can soak in the tub, catch up on your favorite blogs, or even just take a short nap. A happy parent has a happy child, but you have to remember to do something special for yourself every now and again.
- Invite your friends over for dinner. This works out well if your children are close in age and enjoy playing together. You get to enjoy a bit of adult time while the kids entertain each other. A win-win situation indeed.
- Exercise daily, if only for five minutes. Exercise releases endorphins, which helps to reduce stress.
- Take some time to brush your hair, paint your fingernails, put on some mascara and lipgloss - you DO have the time and looking good will lift your spirits better than a glass of the finest chardonnay…
Which brings me to:
- Have a glass of something sparkly or eat a piece of chocolate. Do something to indulge yourself today. If you want to drink a glass of tea with your dinner, do it. Yes, budgeting is important, but so is the health of yourself and your child. That's priceless.
You'll notice that many of the tips that can help lessen the stress of the child can also help lessen the stress of the parent. That is no coincidence! All families need a bit of quality time to bond, and it is very easy to confuse quality time with quantity time (ex. spending all day in the living room with your child without engaging in conversation or play is not considered quality time, but quantity time).
Do you have anything to add to the list? What do you do to unwind?