Have you ever been in a situation where you don’t know what to do with your child?
Everything seems so hard and overwhelming because nothing seems to be working. You are getting stressed out. Your child (or children) is not listening and everyone is on edge. Mom’s all mad. Dad’s overwhelmed and the kids are screaming and crying for attention.
Fortunately, today I have some practical tips for you to make parenting life easier so you’ll have a stress-free parenting life.
25 Practical Tips for a Stress-free Parenting Life
Parenting can be a challenging journey, but with these 25 practical tips, you can create a stress-free and more joyful parenting experience. Discover effective strategies to make your life easier and nurturing a calmer, happier child. From establishing routines to practicing self-care, these tips will empower you to navigate the ups and downs of parenting with confidence and create a harmonious environment for your family.
1. Embrace the power of routines
Put in place consistent routines for meals, bedtime, and other activities can bring structure and predictability to your child’s day.
With 4 children at home, I don’t know what I’d do without having these routines in place. From the get go, since they were babies, my husband and I have established their daily routines for meals, hygiene (washing their hands as soon as they get home from school), doing homework, shower time, entertainment, dinner, prayer and bedtime.
We are usually more lenient during the weekends but generally my children will follow the same routine every single day. This has created a lot of calmness and stability with the kids because they know what to expect during the day, which makes them more secure and less anxious.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Remember, kids will be kids, and they’re bound to make a mess or break things. Focus on the bigger picture and avoid unnecessary stress.
It was a little harder when they were younger, but over the years I have learned to let go of the small stuff, like making a mess etc. This will take a lot of burden and stress off your shoulders too. So let go of the small stuff and focus more on the bigger issues with your children like using bad language, bullying, or disrespecting you or the elders in the family.
3. Take care of yourself
Parenting can be demanding, so make sure to carve out time for self-care. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a long bath, or enjoying a hobby, remember to recharge your own batteries.
Many times we take ourselves for granted. You can be extremely busy with taking care and parenting your children and on top of it, work and everything else. But it is more important than ever that we make the time for self-care and do the things we love and that makes us happy.
Once a week or fortnight, I sometimes take a day off, buy myself a kimbap (Korean sushi), put my feet up while having a nice cuppa coffee, while watching my favourite Korean drama. It was pure bliss! Simple pleasures like these make me so happy 🙂
Use this free printable and list the nice things you want to do for yourself this week.
4. Ask for help
Don’t hesitate to reach out to family, friends, or even support groups when you need assistance. Parenting is a team effort, and there’s no shame in seeking support.
I know it can be the hardest thing ever to ask for help. I’ve been there when I just had my 4th child. Family support was limited and my immediate family was away overseas. But we took the courage and asked our local church parish for help. Because of that, we were able to get daily meals from kind parishioners who sent us lunch and dinner for two whole weeks! How blessed we were!
5. Simplify mealtime
Plan easy and nutritious meals ahead of time, and involve your kids in meal preparation. It can be a fun bonding activity and reduce mealtime stress.
Yes, keep mealtimes simple. With a big family and limited resources and help, I used to only cook twice a week, making big batch of meals for my young growing family which we can reheat and eat the next day. And once a week on a weekend, we’ll have takeaways. We saved a LOT of money in the process.
Now I cook more often because my kids are bigger and are eating more now. Plus they are helping more around the house which gives me more energy to cook more often.
6. Set realistic expectations
Understand that children have their own pace of development. Avoid comparing them to others and appreciate their unique journey.
One of my kids has functional needs. He is so incredibly smart and intelligent, but is socially awkward. That never bothered me at all, although he is very different and is not like the other kids his age. We are helping him as we go with his social skills and know that eventually he will get there as we guide him. As parents, all we care about is his wellbeing and that he is happy and thriving at his own pace.
7. Practice active listening
Give your child your full attention when they’re speaking to you. It fosters trust, builds strong communication skills, and makes problem-solving easier.
We do our best to listen to our kids even though we are not perfect at it. We have four of them! So it’s gonna take awhile to actively listen to each of them. Lol. But with all jokes aside, my husband is a wonderful listener, not only to me but to our children. As we listen, we asks them appropriate questions to better understand their situation before we get to the bottom of the problem and trying to solve their issues.
8. Prioritize sleep
Ensure your child gets enough sleep by establishing a consistent bedtime routine. A well-rested child is generally happier and easier to handle. Basically create a bedtime routine that is comfortable for you and your kids and stick to it everyday.
Here’s our bedtime routine:
Usually after dinner, we allow our kids to watch a bit of TV before bedtime. During the week, they only get to watch Christian movies or kids’ faith formation programs on Formed (Catholic app). Formed has thousands of Catholic video-based study programs, movies, documentaries, audio talks, and audio books. Our family loves it so much.
We get our children to stop watching TV by 8.30pm, prepare them for bed (flossing, brushing teeth and using mouth wash). Then my husband gets my daughter, Gianna to read the children’s story bible. Then my husband will read them the Bible (Gospel for the day) because my older sons prefer the adult version. Then he prays with them and get my kids to pray their intentions for the day.
Then my husband ends the prayer. By then it’s already 9pm. We then kiss them and say our goodnights. We do this every day without fail. And they wake up well rested and happy the next day.
9. Celebrate milestones
Recognize and celebrate your child’s achievements, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in building their confidence.
We recently celebrated Samuel’s First Holy Communion in June. It was a special milestone in his life. We made it special by getting him some religious gifts and going out for a Korean BBQ meal. It was such a special day not only for Samuel, but for all of us as a family as we were so proud of him.
10. Maintain a sense of humor
Parenting can be chaotic and unpredictable, so embracing humor can lighten the mood and help you navigate challenging situations with a smile.
My husband and I are good at this. We are always goofing around, joking and being silly with our kids. Of course we are serious when we needed to be. But most of the time, we keep things light and humorous in our family. My husband is especially good at this. He cracks me up everyday and makes us laugh all the time.
11. Let them make choices
Allow your child to make age-appropriate decisions to help them develop independence and problem-solving skills.
As parents, we care for our kids so much to the point of wanting to do everything for them including making decisions for them. But as time goes by, we need to learn to let go and trust our kids to make their own decisions (when it is age-appropriate of course).
It is all a part of growing up as they find their footing out in the world. If you don’t trust them enough to make choices, how would they learn to trust themselves and build the confidence they need to thrive in the world?
12. Find your support network
Connect with other parents who share similar experiences and challenges. Their advice and understanding can be invaluable.
When I was pregnant with our first child, we went for our first parents network event. We learned about what would happened during a delivery, postpartum care, how to care for our newborns, nutrition and everything about being first-time parents.
The experience was invaluable and we also formed our first mother’s coffee club during that event. A representative would contact us and we got together with our newborns at a cafe or a get-together for a fun time at the cinema. There was a Mum and Bub’s event at the cinemas every Wednesday at that time. It was super fun connecting with other first-time mums. We share about our experiences and struggles together. We also asks questions and suggestions if we’re not sure about how to deal with a certain issue with our babies. For example; teething, breast-feeding or reflux etc.
13. Practice patience
Remember that children are learning and growing every day. Patience and understanding are key when dealing with their behavior and emotions.
Every child is different and unique in their own ways. They each have their own special gifts and talents. Both my boys can read by 5 years old. Actually my younger son started reading during pre-school/kindergarten. My son, Michael is just excellent in Maths and is way ahead of his year in school and Samuel is an all-rounder; who is loves gardening, good in his studies and is great at the piano.
But my girls are different. They are not able to read as fast as the boys even though I’ve helped them all the same way. But the girls excel in their arts and physical education. They are super creative and my older daughter, Gianna can do the splits (which she learned by herself) and came out 2nd place in the cross country race in her first and second year in school. She struggles with reading though but now, in her third year, she has totally caught up with reading and volunteers to read the children’s bible every night. I’m still amazed at how far she’s come because I knew how much she struggled in the first couple of years. And my youngest daughter is following in her sister’s footsteps and is doing her best because she wants to read like her brothers and sister too.
So be patient, because every child will grow and thrive in their own pace. Eventually they will get there and a little patience goes a long way and will help your child feel loved and understood.
14. Encourage independence
Teach your child age-appropriate skills, such as dressing themselves or tidying up their toys. It not only lightens your load but also fosters their confidence and self-reliance.
A friend asked me, “how soon can you help your child be independent“?
As soon as your child can understand you, you should be able to teach your child some age-appropriate skills. For example, it is as simple as asking your child to put the book away, or to tidy up after playing with their toys. Start small then give them more challenging tasks as they grow older, like making their beds, tidying up their rooms and so on.
We did this with our kids. Now my sons, age 11 and 9 are helping me to vacuum the house, clean and mop the floors. Sometimes they vacuum and wash my car too. My girls have their own set of chores which are simpler like picking up their toys or filling up the toilet rolls in the bathroom. Soon I will get them to help their brothers more when they are ready.
And don’t forget to give them a nice treat after that. Not all the time, but I usually do so for the harder chores at home. It will make tidying up easier and your child will be more motivated to do so.
15. Create a safe environment
Childproof your home to minimize potential hazards and accidents. A safe environment allows you to relax a bit while keeping your child protected.
When my kids were younger between 1-3 years old, I had to do this. As a tip, you can do this at home too. You may look silly but who cares! On all fours, walk around your home and if you see any potential hazards like a ceramic vase or glassware or anything hazardous, remove them from your sight.
Install a gate at the entrance of your stairs and above the stairs. We also install a gate at the entrance of our kitchen. This has helped my sanity while cooking so I don’t have kids rushing into the kitchen all the time. There are many ways to keep your environment safe but this is just a couple of tips to get you started.
16. Limit screen time
While technology can be helpful, it’s important to set boundaries on screen time. Encourage outdoor activities, imaginative play, and quality time together.
I can’t stress enough how important to do this. I make my kids take several screen time breaks during the day. A couple of hours at a time. This is usually tough during the school holidays especially when I’m catching up on a client work and I can’t be there to entertain or spend time with them all the time.
So I often limit their screen time and make that as a daily routine as well. They can only use their technology for a set amount of time. And those breaks are a must. And during those break times, I get them to do chores, water the outdoor plants, read a book, play the piano, play board games or go outside for a run or play in the garden when the weather is good.
17. Teach gratitude
Help your child develop a sense of gratitude by encouraging them to express appreciation for the things and people they have in their life.
Do this as often as you can during your morning prayers or evening prayers. I personally think that the best time to do so is when you first wake up in the morning. But to be honest, it doesn’t really matter what time as long you do it consistently with your child. When you say your morning or evening prayers together, get your child or each child to express 1-3 things they are grateful to God for each day. It’s an awesome way for your child to build a habit of gratitude in their life.
18. Practice positive discipline
Focus on teaching, rather than punishing. Reinforce good behavior and use logical consequences when necessary, rather than resorting to harsh discipline.
My husband and I grew up in an environment where harsh discipline was enforced during our childhood. For me, I got a canning from my dad (a long thin bamboo cane) when I was misbehaving. It was the Asian way of punishment during those days. It was painful and I do not wish it upon my greatest enemy.
Thankfully, we don’t do this with our children. Fortunately our children turn out to be the sweetest, most loving kids I know. By all means, we’re not perfect parents, as we can sometimes say things that are harsh and mean out in anger. But we always try to reinforce positive behaviour instead of saying “don’t do this” or “don’t do that” all the time. For example, instead of saying, “don’t be naughty”, say “be nice to your sister” or “please take turns to play the piano” instead of “don’t fight over the piano”. You get the point.
19. Embrace imperfection
One of the hardest thing in life is being a parent. However it is also the most rewarding moment in your life when you see your child or children grow up to be wonderful little human beings. But along the way, we don’t always get it right. So remember not to beat yourselves up, but to learn from your mistakes and move on. The most important thing is not about not making mistakes. But it’s about making progress to be the best parent(s) you can be to your child.
Parenting is a journey filled with ups and downs. Accept that you won’t always get it right, and that’s okay. What matters most is your love and effort.
20. Foster open communication
Create a safe and non-judgmental space for your child to express their thoughts, fears, and emotions. This helps build trust and strengthens your bond.
You can do this by being an active listener. Give your child your full attention when they want to talk. Put down your phone, make eye contact, and show genuine interest in what they have to say. This sends the message that their thoughts and feelings are valued.
You can also create a judgment-free zone by letting your child know that they can share anything with you without fear of judgment or punishment. Encourage open dialogue by reassuring them that their opinions and emotions are valid.
21. Keep learning together
Parenting is a continuous learning experience. Stay updated on the latest research, parenting trends that are inline with our faith and values, and child development information. Attend workshops, read books or blogs, and engage in discussions with other parents and professionals to enhance your knowledge and adapt your parenting approach accordingly.
Remember, knowledge is power, and staying informed can help you make informed decisions and provide the best support for your child’s growth and well-being.
22. Practice mindfulness
Incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. Take a few moments each day to pause, breathe, and be present with your child. It helps reduce stress and fosters a deeper connection.
Another word for being mindful is about paying attention. Just sitting down with your child for a few minutes each day, asking about his or her day while having a few snacks with them will make a whole lot difference in your child’s life. You can also read a book together, or read something light or fun.
Personally, I enjoy giving my attention to my children during swimming. Because I am swimming with them while giving them some swimming lessons, I am not using my phone and my full attention is on them. After that, we head over to Coffee Club for some milkshakes and chips (french fries). Super fun!
23. Encourage problem-solving
Instead of always providing solutions, empower your child to think critically and problem-solve on their own. It builds their confidence and equips them with essential life skills.
This is my husband’s area of expertise (in my opinion, anyway). If there are any problems that arise at school, homework or at home with the kids, he always asked the right questions to get them thinking on their own, so they will start thinking of what’s the right or best way to approach the problem by themselves.
If they get it wrong, we help them answer it and explain the reason why it is so. And if they get it right, it’s like they’ve won the lottery and are very pleased with themselves. This will help build their confidence at the same time.
24. Don’t forget to say sorry and learn self-forgiveness
Parents aren’t perfect, and sometimes we make mistakes too. Apologizing to your child is important because it shows them that you value their feelings and respect them as individuals. Saying sorry to your child demonstrates humility and teaches them an essential life lesson – that it’s okay to make mistakes and take responsibility for them.
Remember, apologizing doesn’t undermine your authority as a parent. In fact, it shows your strength and willingness to grow. By apologizing, you set a positive example of accountability, empathy, and humility, which are essential qualities for building strong relationships in all aspects of life.
Parenting can come with guilt and self-doubt. Remember to be kind to yourself and forgive your mistakes. You’re doing the best you can, and your love for your child is what truly matters.
25. Stay organized
Last but not least, staying organized as a parent is crucial because, let’s face it, parenting can get pretty chaotic! If I may, let me just expand on this point:
How to be organized
Use calendars, planners, or apps to keep track of appointments, school activities, and important dates. It helps you stay on top of things, reduces stress, allows you to be more present for your child and reduce last-minute stress.
Being organized helps you manage your time effectively. From school drop-offs to extracurricular activities, doctors’ appointments to playdates, the list goes on. By having a system in place, you can plan and prioritize, ensuring that everything gets done without feeling overwhelmed.
Stucture, routine and consistency
Organization also helps create a sense of structure and routine for both you and your child. Kids thrive on consistency, and knowing what to expect brings them a sense of security. Whether it’s having designated meal times or a bedtime routine, being organized allows you to establish healthy habits and maintain a more harmonious household.
Practical benefits of staying organized
When everything has its place and is easily accessible, you’ll spend less time searching for lost items like keys or that favorite toy your child can’t sleep without. Plus, it can save you money by avoiding duplicate purchases or late fees for forgotten bills.
Staying organized also enables you to be more prepared for emergencies or unexpected situations. Having important documents, emergency contact numbers, and essential supplies readily available gives you peace of mind and allows you to respond swiftly when needed.
Reduces mental clutter
Furthermore, being organized frees up mental space. When you have a system in place, you don’t have to constantly keep everything in your head. It reduces mental clutter and allows you to focus more on quality time with your child, creating precious memories and enjoying the journey of parenthood.
In short, staying organized as a parent is like having your own personal assistant. It helps you manage your time, reduces stress, establishes routines, and allows you to be more present for your child. So, grab that planner, create a system that works for you, and embrace the benefits of an organized parenting life.
Parenting planner bundle
Having said that, I have put together a special parenting planner bundle which will help you to do all the above and more. This can be a helpful resource for parents like yourselves to stay organized and manage your daily responsibilities effectively.
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I hope these 25 practical tips will help make your parenting journey a little smoother!
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