How To Be A Calm Parent

Being a parent is the ultimate test of patience. You’re dealing with people who can’t communicate, or can’t communicate well, and who are full of emotion. Therefore, it’s easy to lose your patience and that’s okay. We’re human. Yes, parents are human. Some of us may be naturally calm, and for others, it may take time and practice. If you’re the latter, here are some tips on being a calm parent:

1. Know your triggers, work through those triggers, and understand where they come from. This doesn’t mean you have to seek a therapist, although, it can be helpful, but getting to the root of the issue will make things easier in the long run. This isn’t easy, but be mindful of what really grinds your gears and your reactions.

2. When you feel yourself being triggered, take a minute for you. Put the kids in a safe place, get a breath of fresh air, put your headphones in (at an appropriate volume to hear the kids if need be), grab a coffee, call a friend/family member. Just decompress for a few minutes and go back to kids with a fresh(er) mindset. I want to add that we always want to remain in the caregiver role. We also never want our children to think that we are trying to separate from them or that they did something wrong. This can cause fear in the child. Therefore, if you need to take a moment, tell your children you need to use the bathroom or that you need to make a phone call, rather than saying something like “you’re driving me crazy, I need a break.”

3. Pick your battles and be open to saying “yes.” Ask yourself, what is the boundary? Is it drawn in the sand or set in stone? Are they going to get hurt? Are you saying no because you don’t want to or because they shouldn’t?

4. Read parenting books. They will help you to understand the whole parenting process. You don’t have to take the advice, but you will gain understanding and potentially see another perspective on what’s going on. Knowledge is power. I recommend Dr. Dan Siegel’s book, “Parenting from the Inside Out.”

5. Join a parent community. This can be a Facebook group or an online forum. This is an outlet to connect with other parents and help to normalize your situation, put things into perspective, get advice…..However, these groups can be triggering and a breeding ground for judgment. If you feel more harm than good, that isn’t the group for you.

6. Engage in self care. Find time for just you. Do things for you. Go to the gym, hang out with your friends, take up a hobby, take a bath, go for a walk, catch up on your favourite show…Whatever fills your cup. Self-care does not look the same for everyone and it does not have to be elaborate.

7. Get enough rest.

8. Eat! Don’t get hangry! Better yet, make a point of joining your kids for meals.

9. Let feelings be. Let things be. We can’t control our children’s feelings. Let them feel. We, as parents, are also allowed to feel and we need to let ourselves do so.

10. The mess can wait. I don’t know about you, but I get so caught up in the mess that the second a toy comes out, I lose it. Why? Because my whole day is cleaning. Leaving the mess till later really takes a load off.

11. Set boundaries and hold your ground. It maybe too soon to expect your children to learn those boundaries , but eventually they will get it as long as you are consistent.

12. Ask for help. Can a relative babysit? Does your community daycare do drop-in?Can your partner step in? Sometimes we just need to hand off care and take a break.

13. Get out of the house. Be social. This can be loading up the kids and going for a drive or a walk. It could be taking the kids to the local moms group or library for story time. Just be around other people.

14. Journal. Write down what makes your angry or sad. Write what you are grateful for. Write your to do list. Write everything that happened in the day. Just get it out.

Being a parent isn’t easy. I hope these tips helps you in some way. Just remember, you’re not alone.

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