Summer is upon us, and you know what that means. The kids are home for a few months. And while that’s overwhelmingly a good thing – it’s also enough to overwhelm any stay-at-home parent. Even if you work, it’s always a balance to keep the kids safe and entertained while you’re away from home. So, let’s cover a few easy ways to manage stress with the kids home from school.
Wake Up Early
You’re going to need some alone time. There’s no question about this. And if you’re like most parents, you probably try to squeeze a few episodes of Game of Thrones in after the kids go to bed. And if that works for you, great. But it’s actually counterproductive for a lot of parents.
When you resolve to get your alone time by staying up late, you’ll almost inevitably stay up too late. “Just one more episode,” said every parent before the most stressful day of their lives.
When you haven’t slept well, you’re going to be extra sensitive to stress. And so any day after a late night is likely to go badly.
Instead, consider getting your alone time by waking up early. This way, you can have the entire house to yourself before anyone expects anything of you. Finally, you can enjoy your coffee while it’s hot.
Avoid Those Nightcaps
If you’ve had a stressful day, it may be tempting to have a cocktail after the kids go to bed. And while this is fine occasionally, you’ll want to avoid making it a habit. Studies have shown that alcohol before bed can interfere with your ability to experience REM sleep, and that’s the good sleep you need to help you through any stressful days.
Addiction is the other reason why you may want to avoid making a nightcap a habit. If you spend any length of time reading addiction articles and personal stories, you’ll see how easy it is to fall into this trap. Instead, have a cup of calming tea and get to bed early.
Get Some Sunshine
Sunshine is a natural stress buster, so try to do something with the kids outdoors every day. As a bonus, the kids will often find ways to entertain themselves outdoors, so you can relax, read a book and soak up the sunshine. If all goes well, you should find it much easier to handle any stressful situations.
Organize Each Day
Even if you’re not a big planner, consider giving this a shot. Kids really do work well on schedules (even if they seem to resist at first) and there’s less opportunity for pushback when you have a day planned. Leave the kids to their own devices and you’re just asking to be stressed out. They’ll each want to do conflicting activities and you’ll spend your entire day catering to their whims. You probably already know that this is a fast track to a meltdown – your meltdowns.
How about you? Do you have any stress-busting tips to help other parents get through this summer season?