Let’s face it, we all know it—parenting is hard! And parent burnout most definitely can take a toll. Not just a toll, but so many types of tolls…our social lives, work/life balance, physical health, but arguably the most important one — our mental health! Am I preaching to the choir or what? Let’s learn how kid activities can help with parent burnout.
Why is talking about parent burnout important?
Many other parts of our life follow suit when our mental health struggles, especially our parenting. It can feel like a vicious cycle.
Inside this post, you will learn the importance of self-care, why kid activities are key in developing independent play skills, and how to build confidence in your kids with activities so you have more time to drink your coffee (HOT).
RELATED: Here is how I make a daily routine with kids of multiple ages.
The Importance of Self-Care for Healthy Parents
Taking care of your mind, body & soul is ESSENTIAL to being the parent you want to be. Showing up for yourself is truly the key to your self-care, but even more importantly, it teaches your children the importance of self-care and self-love!
Okay, so we know self-care is essential. But HOW are we supposed to find the time to take care of ourselves when we are constantly making meals, wiping butts, refilling snack containers, and breaking up sibling scuffles?
Figuring out HOW to find the time to take care of your mental health is critical to being your best self! And funny enough, easy, kid-friendly activities are the ultimate way to give yourself some YOU time.
I am so happy you asked.
In this post, we will talk about How Kid Activities can Help with Parent Burnout through:
- The IMPORTANCE of self-care for healthy parents
- WHY activities are key in developing independent play skills
- HOW to build confidence in your kids with activities so you have more time to drink your coffee!
Craving a calmer morning?
Breakfast Invitations are simple learning games to begin the day with play.
Activities for Your Kids Promote Independent Play
But what is independent play?
Experts suggest that helping your kids develop and grow their ability to play independently has countless benefits. When your children are challenged, engaged, and stimulated by age-appropriate activities, their minds become active and fulfilled by the task.
Ultimately, these activities encourage:
And let’s be honest— the goal is to promote this independent play so you can get YOU time!
Supporting your children in learning how to play independently is one of the most valuable skills you can teach them. When they grow their ability to entertain themselves through easy-to-setup structured activities, they will gain the confidence to build and develop their independent play through other imaginative and creative ways.
One of my favorite activities that I’ve done with my boys is setting up a play prompt, Rainbow DIY Board Game, and then they ran with it making DIY board games of their own! It was the game that kept on giving.
On the days we are all in school or working, we try and end the day with a family board game. As a busy family, I can’t expect to play every night. However, we can aim for once a week. Pick a day that works for you and claim it! Name the night, such as “We Play Wednesday” or “Move Around the Board Mondays.” Life is more fun with things to look forward to.
Independent Play Means More Time for YOU
Turns out giving your kids the time and space to increase their skills for more productive independent play is coincidentally a gift to both of you! When your kids are happily engaged, you are rewarded with the time and space needed to take care of yourself.
Self-care comes in all forms and can mean many different things to different people.
We all know that being at home with young kids is exhausting, so self-care does not mean you are necessarily (and luxuriously) leaving the house for a mani/pedi, but it could be simple things (done in peace) that feel like a day at the spa!
We tend to think of self-care as these extremes, and in my case, when I could leave the house, I didn’t necessarily have money to spend.
I had to get creative about HOW to be with the kid and still do the things I enjoy – or side note, I would leave the house but work on Days with Grey – that fueled me and was my self-care.
Related: More time for you will leave more time to hang together when feeling refreshed. Here is how to take a day trip with kids.
Simple self-care might be:
- Answering a few emails
- Catching up with a friend on the phone
- Doing a little online shopping
- Doing a quick workout
- Drinking your coffee hot (my personal favorite!)
- Filing your nails
- Putting a chair in the middle of the driveway and eating a bowl full of guacamole. (Just me?)
- Taking a shower without disruption
I put everything together in this list of nine ideas when feeling overwhelmed in this parenting post.
When you get these moments to yourself, you get a chance to BREATHE!
And seriously, how often do we get to enjoy these simple moments to ourselves when our little ones are nagging and pulling on our shirts for the next snack?
Related: Want to get your children more involved around the house? Here is a starting list of chores for toddlers.
Benefits of Less Parent Burnout
There is nothing better we can do for ourselves, our kids, and our entire family household than taking some time for self-care!
Researchers, self-help leaders, therapists, and burned-out parents can all agree that treating ourselves, whether in big or small ways, significantly improves our overall mental health.
Showing yourself some self-love helps you feel:
- Less Stressed
- More balanced
Most of all…..it will make you a better parent to your children!
Quick Setup & GO!
Taking these moments for self-care is vital to being the best version of yourself.
When your children feel confident in their independent play through self-guided and open-ended activities, it offers YOU the space for personal space and better overall mental health!
Que Up ➜ Breakfast Invitations
Breakfast Invitations are my go-to daily planning method, giving ME time to drink my coffee hot! Yes, of course, it’s good for my kids, but I know how important it is for me too. Starting our mornings off calmly and productively sets everyone in a positive mood and energy! Over time I have found that kid activities can help with parent burnout.
If you’re new to Days with Grey, check out my Breakfast Invitations to learn HOW and WHY preparing easy activities is the best way to help encourage your children to gain their independence in playing!
So what are you waiting for?
Simply set up an easy activity (here’s one of my most recent favorites) as part of your morning routine with your kids, and enjoy your hot coffee in peace to help recharge yourself!
Find Your Name – an easy activity
Setup time – less than five minutes. (Basically, faster than you can find the markers in your junk drawer)
Do this now:
- MATERIALS: Grab a white paper roll and a pack of markers.
- SET UP: Tape a sheet of white paper on the table.
- DESIGN: Write your child’s name in a variety of colors. Next, add other family names such as siblings and parents.
- LEAVE ON THE TABLE: That’s all! The next morning your child comes down to the table and circles their name as you prep breakfast.
- BEHIND THE SCENES: As your child works, they improve their pencil grip and practice hand-eye coordination. Forming lines and curves is one of the first steps to writing letters.
When your child is finished, they will most likely eat breakfast and head off to play.
Why does it work?
It works because you are intentional about starting the day with play and being together for the first 10 minutes of the day. It is a great way to connect before redirecting to the next part of the day.
Taking Care of You Means Taking Better Care of Your Kids
Giving your kids the tools to learn how to be independent is essential to your self-care and self-love. When you get snippets, moments, or maybe even an hour to yourself, you will feel refreshed and a better parent!
My vote? Not leaving chores for nap times and after dinner. Ask yourself, can I complete this when the kids are awake? If yes, carry on. It doesn’t hurt to see all the work that goes into making a home, enjoying downtime, and completing daily tasks.
How are you going to spend your YOU time?
Attention given to yourself is vital to being the best YOU. And not just the best version of yourself, but the best parent and role model for your kids. Although it can feel difficult to prioritize these moments, I am personally motivated by knowing that taking care of myself with some self-love and balance will make me a more present, patient, and creative mom.
It’s so unfair, isn’t it?! Gone are the days of taking a long, uninterrupted hot shower. As parents, we are constantly ON; it feels like there is never a break. The truth is that these fundamental needs (like showering or efficiently running errands without all the whining and pee breaks) are necessary to keep the household functioning. But when parents are burned out, being about to bask in the steam of your shower, minus the screaming and demands, can feel like a vacation!
There is nothing better to me than simply being able to enjoy my coffee piping hot. These early morning sips are so luxurious to me because they give me quiet moments of reflection first thing before the day begins. To me, this is my favorite and most important form of self-care!