Parenting Tip: Child Activities & Stress Relief

Parenting and stress go hand in hand when kids are busy. If you’re a working or single parent, don’t let stress weigh you down like a bag of hammers. Stress Solutions by Jean Tracy, MSS, relieves the “stress” hammers and helps you to enjoying your family life.

First Stress Problem for Parents
Let’s say you have 3 kids. Each child has an after school fall, winter, and spring activity. That’s 9 after school activities a year. You’re the driver. How do you buy the groceries, do the laundry, start the dinner, monitor homework, and get the kids to bed? Do you have a stress headache? Do you have the energy you need to do it all? Is this what being a good parent is all about?

First Stress Solution for Busy Parents
Did you know those activities are heavy hammers? You don’t have to put each child in an activity 3 times a year to be a good parent. Why not allow each child one activity a year and no more?
One child may choose autumn soccer. Another child may take on winter basketball. The third child might sign up for spring track. The rule is, only one activity per child per year and never at the same time. Discuss changes at the Family Meeting. Explain less stress allows for a more enjoyable, happy family. Now look in your bag and toss out 6 of the 9 hammers. You won’t be driving 3 kids to 3 activities 3 times a year. Doesn’t that feel better? Whew! Discuss changes at the Family Meeting. Imagine more family life at home too.

Second Stress Problem for Parents
You’ve rid yourself of 6 stress hammers but you still have to drive one child to sports, get the groceries, and fix dinner. Your head aches less but it’s not gone.

Second Stress Solution for Busy Parents
Ask yourself, “Who said I have to do it all?” You don’t. Here’s what you can do. Teach your kids how to start dinner, perhaps make salads. The 2 kids at home can take turns making the salad and setting the table.
Toss out 2 more hammers. You’ll have taught the kids two important skills. They’re pitching in now. You’re becoming a family team. How’s the headache?

Third Stress Problem for Parents
You still have one hammer, supervising homework. Making sure they brought it home, know how to do it, and then doing it can be stressful. What to do?

Third Stress Solution for Busy Parents
While you fix the rest of dinner, the kids start their homework. No TV or video games. The oldest kid can help the younger two and start his/her own homework. After dinner they clean the kitchen and finish their homework. You put in a load of laundry. When done, take time to play a family game. Discuss changes at the Family Meeting.

Conclusion for Busy Parents with Active Kids
Parents, you don’t have to do it all. Allow one activity per child per year. Teach your kids to start the dinner and set the table. Get the older child to supervise the younger kids’ homework. Give each child the good feeling of being needed, helping, and being a part of the best team ever, the family team. Drop the hammers. Play family games. Enjoy being the parent. You’ll be a better parent too.

About the Author: Jean Tracy, MSS, earned her Master of Social Work degree from Bryn Mawr College. Parenting Resources grew out of her experiences as a mother, a family counselor for over 20 years, and as a teacher of elementary age children.

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