Tips for Reducing Stress and Burnout When You Have Young Children

June 25, 2024

strawberry picking with child

Having young children can be an enriching experience. However, it can also be exhausting and stressful at times. As a parent, taking care of yourself is important so you can be fully present for your kids. Here are some tips to help reduce stress and prevent burnout when you have little ones at home.

Establish a Routine

Structure and routine are crucial when you have young children. Kids thrive on predictability and familiarity. Having a set schedule for meals, naps, playtime, etc. helps keep the days flowing smoothly and reduces chaos. Make sure to build in flexibility though - not every day will go exactly as planned!

Aim to keep mornings and bedtimes consistent. This helps regulate kids' sleep cycles and prevents early wake-ups or bedtime battles. Post the schedule where everyone can see it too. Review it as a family each morning so everyone knows what to expect.

Take Time for Yourself

It's vital to carve out time for your own self-care, even when you have a houseful of demanding little ones. Don't feel guilty about taking breaks - you will be a better parent when your own cup is full.

Try to schedule small pockets of "me time" into each day, even if it's just 15 minutes to enjoy a cup of tea, take a bath, or read a few pages of a book. Ask your partner or friend to watch the kids for a couple hours so you can pursue a hobby, get a massage, or meet a friend for coffee.

Also, be sure to prioritize sleep when you can. Naps, early bedtimes, and sleeping in when possible will help you recharge. Your kids will pick up on your restored energy!

Accept Help from Others

Raising kids truly takes a village. Be open to accepting help from loved ones so you don't have to carry all the workload yourself. This could mean having grandparents babysit for a date night, asking a friend to pick the kids up from school, or hiring a mother's helper for a few hours a week.

If you are a foster carer, reach out to Foster Care Associates for advice if things get too much. Or see if they can connect you with other local foster families for playdates. Building your support network makes all the difference.

Get Outside

Fresh air and movement are natural stress relievers for both kids and parents. Spend time outdoors as a family every day, weather permitting. Take the kids to the park, beach, hiking trails, etc. You can bring books and toys along too. The change of scene and physical activity helps clear everyone's head.

Go for family bike rides, have water pistol battles in the garden, or kick a ball around together. You'll all sleep better at night! If possible, try to get the kids outdoors first thing in the morning - it's a great way to start the day on a positive note.

Make Time for Play

Don't underestimate the power of play! Kids need plenty of unstructured playtime to boost creativity, imagination, and cognitive growth. But play is not just for kids - it reduces anxiety and promotes bonding for parents too.

Set aside time each day for family play. Get down on the floor and enter your child's world - build with blocks, have a tea party, or race cars around a track. Turn on some music and dance together in the living room. Laughter and silliness are wonderful stress relievers!

Play games as a family in the evenings, like charades, board games, or hide and seek. Maintain your inner child by playing alongside your kids. It cultivates joy and quality time together.

Let the Housework Slide

Many busy parents stress about keeping a spotless home, but this is unrealistic with young kids! Give yourself permission to ease up on housekeeping. Leave the toy explosion as is, order takeaways when you're too tired to cook and ask your partner to tackle chores like laundry.

Focus on quick daily tidying of rooms before bedtime so you start each morning on a clean slate. But don't make the house perfect. Your kids' childhood memories will be of the time with you, not the shiny floors! Keep your standards simple and maintainable.

Make Time for Your Relationship

The demands of parenting can put a strain on your relationship with your partner. That's why it's crucial to nurture your couple's connection amidst the chaos of kids. Plan regular date nights - even if it's just at home after the kids go to bed. Chat while you cook dinner, cuddle up watching TV, and take showers together.

Give each other undivided attention, without talking about the kids. Ask thoughtful questions, share feelings and dreams, and compliment each other's parenting. Feel like a couple again, not just Mum and Dad. This intimacy strengthens your bond and ability to tag team as parents.

Schedule Fun Family Outings

When you're deep in parenting mode, it's easy to forget to enjoy yourself along the way. Make it a priority to regularly plan low-key, budget-friendly outings the whole family can look forward to. Things like:
  • Picnics in the park
  • Hiking or nature walks
  • Visits to the zoo or children's museum
  • Swimming at an indoor pool
  • Bowling or mini golf
  • Trips to the library for family storytime
  • Local fair or festival

Having these little adventures gives you a change of scenery and creates fun memories together. The kids burn off energy in a new environment and you get to relax.

monster truck with child

Take Time to Recharge After Nursery

If your kids spend a large chunk of the day at nursery or preschool, you may feel pressure to cram in quality time after pick-up. But kids often need to transition and settle in at home first. After a long day of structured activity, they need chill time.

Give them space to play independently, snack, or veg out after school. Take this window to recharge yourself - sip some coffee, do a quick meditation, or catch up with a friend. Then you'll have more energy and patience for family time in the evenings. Don't feel like you need to be "on" the moment they get home.

Prioritise Self-Care

Parenthood often requires putting your kids' needs before your own. But you must make space for basic self-care, or you'll burn out fast. Drink enough water, eat healthy meals, exercise, and get as much sleep as you can. Say no to obligations that leave you depleted. Spend time doing hobbies you enjoy. Turn off your phone to unwind.

Most importantly, speak kindly to yourself, especially when you make mistakes. Remind yourself regularly that you're doing a great job - your kids are lucky to have you as their parent! Be patient and give yourself grace. With regular self-care, you'll have the energy reserves to handle each day with calm.

The early years of parenting can be tiring, but taking steps to reduce stress will help you find more joy in each day. By caring for your own needs too, both you and your kids will thrive!

You Might Also Like


I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments! Come back soon :)

About Me

About [span]me[/span]
Hello, I'm Lorita. Hoping to inspire you to explore and create things that make life a bit more fun and beautiful.