Tips for Tired Parents
One of the most difficult parts of parenting is the sheer level of exhaustion. Follow these tips for tired parents and help yourself have more energy throughout even the toughest days.
Parenting is not for the weak. From the sleepless nights of the newborn phase, to dealing with sleep regressions, to being impacted by illness or injuries, it's not surprising that people at all stages of parenthood complain of being tired!
Follow these tips for tired caregivers as you start your journey to becoming more rested and fulfilled.
Here are 7 simple ways to stop being so tired:
1. This might seem obvious - but get out of bed!
If you're feeling sluggish or having a difficult time keeping up with your kids, it might be time to adjust your bedtime schedule.
Not many people talk about how jarring it is to be woken up frequently throughout the night or early in the morning by young kids, but this can be a tough adjustment for families. Late bedtimes or early wake-up calls can make for long days.
Many caregivers have success setting an alarm and waking up before their kids. Of course, this is often easier said than done, and requires you to get enough sleep throughout the night which can be difficult if you have young children. If your child is on a normal sleep schedule, go to bed at a reasonable time and get up before the kids. This gives you time to get out of bed, get ready for the day, and enjoy a few moments of peace and quiet before the chaos starts.
If you have a baby or young child that still wakes throughout the night, getting up before them in the morning might not be the best tactic. As much as possible, sleep when the kids sleep, especially at night. When your little one is asleep, you should also be asleep, at least until you feel caught up on rest.
Practice coaching yourself into a positive mindset.
Set the focus for your day when you get out of bed in the morning. Instead of reaching for your phone or computer, practice deep breathing or light stretches. Come up with some achievable, powerful intentions and goals for the day, and watch for signs that you are becoming exhausted.
Spending less time in bed can help moms and dads maintain a positive outlook on the day and gain more energy by actively participating in their children's activities.
2. Leave messes alone.
Many parents slave away trying to keep their house clean, day and night. Spending hours tidying, organizing, and sanitizing can lead to exhaustion.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by constantly cleaning up after your children, this is a sign to reshape your focus. A pristine house is not the sign of a perfect parent. Your home might look like a complete disaster, and yet your children are fed, clean, calm, and happy - a sign that you're doing a great job.
Delegate cleaning duties.
If cleaning is a major source of stress in your life as a mom, consider hiring house cleaners that could come tidy your home periodically. House cleaners' duties and services typically include sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, wiping down surfaces, and tidying living spaces. Some housekeepers help fold and put away laundry, make beds, and sanitize household surfaces.
Other tips include creating a cleaning schedule, splitting the household chores with another caregiver, or babywearing while you clean so you can multitask. It might be helpful to write a cleaning routine for each week, prioritizing what needs to be done and leaving the rest!
3. Keep your house babyproofed.
Knowing that your home is a safe space for your baby to roam can be a huge help for a tired parent.
Keeping your house baby-proofed can be difficult if you have older kids, but creating a fun, safe place for your baby to crawl around and explore can help make your daily parenting much easier. Even if your other kids have their own toys lying around, be sure to install child locks on all cabinets, drawers, cupboards, and door handles.
Be sure that outlets are covered and cords are out of reach. Keep all small objects and toys away from an infant's main play area (you can store these items in plastic bins or in a locked toy chest or cupboard). Electrical plugs, heavy furniture, and other related dangers can be hazardous for infants and kids.
Constantly following your baby around and being hyper-aware of all potential dangers can easily lead to exhaustion. Creating an environment where a young child can roam freely can help parents feel more calm and collected.
4. Create a routine.
One of the best tips to keep parents from becoming overly exhausted is to create a daily routine that you maintain throughout the week.
Each day doesn't have to look exactly the same, but keeping the kids on a schedule can be helpful for allowing everyone to get more sleep. Don't ignore the routine by doing things like skipping nap time to go do a long activity. This can lead to cranky, overtired, overstimulated kids who will struggle to sleep. Kids that have a set nap time (or rest time) and bedtime often get better sleep than children who do not have a schedule.
With any routine, caregivers need to accept that things can change often. As you observe your child's growth and development, their sleep needs will also change. Adjust your routine to suit the needs of everyone in the family, and reevaluate your schedule often.
5. Schedule time for rest.
Moms and dads can become exhausted when their children go to sleep late, wake throughout the night, or get up early in the morning.
No matter what "needs" to get done, families need to prioritize rest. Regularly incorporating time to rest and relax can help parents survive even the toughest times of parenthood. Perhaps you need to make a point to lay down during your child's nap time, give up that afternoon or evening coffee, and encourage your kids to take breaks from playing so you all can rest together.
6. Keep your brain and body healthy.
It is important to fuel both your mind and your body by prioritizing physical and mental health.
Mental health matters.
The daily routine of parenthood can feel like an endless cycle of living the same day over and over. Avoid feeling down about yourself and your capabilities as a parent by making your mental wellness a priority.
If you simply cannot be rested all the time because of family needs, make sure that you talk to a friend, family member, or licensed therapist about how you are feeling. A therapist can give sound advice and help you figure out how to rest and relax throughout your day.
Moms might experience burnout when they become completely exhausted. Trade duties with another parent so that you can take breaks when you need them. Schedule time for fun and self-care - a happy parent means happy children!
Physical health is important for parents.
Sleep is just one way to restore energy, but staying healthy physically can also help you feel less tired. Make time to exercise 3-4 times per week, in whatever way feels comfortable for you. A brisk evening walk with your child in the stroller can be a great form of exercise. Parents don't need to spend hours at the gym. Simple life changes can create healthier families.
Be aware of what you feed your body, because this also feeds your mind. Eat a well-balanced diet full of fresh produce, lean protein, and nutritious snacks. Search for foods at the grocery store that are easy to prepare but also full of healthy ingredients. Feed your body a well-rounded diet, and you'll likely start to gain more energy over time.
7. Call in reinforcements.
When mom or dad is feeling too overwhelmed and tired, it's time to talk about how you're feeling and ask for help.
Having a solid support system and resources to help can be the key to feeling less exhausted. Parents should watch for signs of burnout, and know when it's time to call a friend or family member to help alleviate some of the daily responsibilities or help take care of the kids. Caregivers are often guilty of putting their own needs last, but it is important to prioritize personal health. Parents cannot meet a child's needs when their own needs are not taken care of.
If you don't want to hire a babysitter or nanny, ask around to friends and family members to see if anyone is willing to help out. Every parent needs their "village" to alleviate some of the stresses of parenthood.
Parenting can be exhausting, but you've got this!
By making some simple adjustments, prioritizing your sleep, and letting yourself be free of guilt, you can become less of an exhausted, grumpy caregiver. Your little ones will see the changes and appreciate having a happier, more well-rested parent!
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.