TOP 5 Tips to Reduce Parental Stress

Ever found that getting the kids organised for school and out the door in the morning a daily struggle? What about the evening wind down…is this the most stressful time of your day? A survey of over 1000 parents reported in The Independent newspaper revealed that the most stressful time, for those with children under ten, is 5.08pm!

Topping the list for making parental blood pressure soar includes children rejecting their meals, kids not remaining seated at the dinner table and taking almost an hour to get off to sleep, the morning school run and the constant need to repeat instructions up to 30 times in order to get children under 10 to do what is asked of them.

dressmyself2backpack2teeth2So why is it so hard? Mornings – eat, dress, pack bags, brush teeth. Evenings – eat, bath and get organised for bed.  This doesn’t sound too difficult…but throw in tired, emotional or playful little beings, time bed2bath2dinner2restraints and often a mismatch between expectations and what actually happens and the family unit can quickly turn chaotic.

So what can we do about it? Here are our top tips to reduce parental stress:

1. Try using a Monkey & Chops Daily Routine Chart to clearly set-out the order and type of tasks that each child needs to complete each morning and evening. This will provide a simple visual guide to promote greater understanding of what is expected and less arguments about the process.

2. Reward Charts are a great way to encourage behavioural self-management in a range of areas for children under 10. From feeding myself, bathing myself or staying in my own bed at night to multi-faceted behavioural skills such as communicating nicely or controlling my emotions. Reward your child with star stickers and watch them strive to reach their behavioural goals.

3. Set-out your child’s morning and evening routines using the Daily Routine Chart and when these routines are performed successfully reward them with a star sticker on their Monkey & Chops Reward Chart. By combining the two behavior charts, you’ll be providing a clear and visual reminder of daily to-dos followed by positive reinforcement for completing them!

4. To ensure the allocation of chores around the house is fair and transparent, use a chore chart. Get the kids to help set it up and reallocate tasks regularly. It will remove the arguing about whose turn it is and keeps the schedule and expectations visible to all.

5. And finally….in the words of Sheryl Sandberg’s best seller Lean In, make your partner/husband/wife a REAL partner! Share the load by sharing household responsibilities and child-management duties. At the start of each week we figure out which one of us will drive our children to school each day (Sandberg, 2013). Sharing the family load will help with sharing the parental stress…this way you will both feel happier and your children will benefit!

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Dearden, L. Worst time to be a parent….The Independent, 31/03/15.

Sandberg, S. (2013). LEAN IN Women Work and the will to lead. Random House, NY.