5 Ways to Be a Happier, More Engaged Parent

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Raising a child might be a rewarding experience, but that doesn’t mean that it’s an easy one. In fact, most parents will tell you just how challenging it can be. Whether you’re teaching your children about organization or are ruminating over whether or not they’re ready for a pet, taking good care of kids is often a stressful time filled with second-guesses. However, it should be a happy time since your children will only be small for so long and you should be able to enjoy watching them grow. With that goal in mind, here are five ways to be a happier, more engaged parent.

1. Embrace Your Free Time

Many parents are probably wondering just what free time they actually have. The truth is that while days tend to be hectic and busy, parents do have at least a few free hours a week—it’s just that they’re not able to really utilize them. Sometimes, you have to seize the moment and take some time out of your day even if you think it doesn’t make you the “perfect parent.” If that means adjusting when your child heads off (or returns from) an extracurricular, that’s OK. Dedicate some time just for you each week to recover, relax, and rejuvenate.

2. Let Everyone Have a Say

It’s important to feel as though you’re being heard at home, even if the issues in question seem fairly small. According to one family therapist, everyone in the family should be allowed to have a say, especially when it comes to their personal spaces (like the bedroom or bathroom). Let your children choose a rug for their room or something as small as the type of toothbrush they use. This helps them feel as though they have some control over their environments and also teaches them to appreciate what they have and to respect their belongings. This information also gives you insight into your children’s minds and can help you better understand how they think and feel.

3. Laugh More

Laughter is important. There’s a reason why you feel great after returning home from a night out with your friends or a date night, and it’s not just spending time with people you love that boosts your mood. Laughter can actually change the way you feel and trigger your brain to start feeling more refreshed. If you’re tired and are struggling with chores at night, for example, try turning on a fun show or trading jokes with your children. The laughter will help you feel better and build great memories with your kids.

4. Ask for Help

If your child has special needs or behavioral issues that can prove to be a lot to handle all on your own, reach out and ask for help. Failing to do so can actually decrease your sense of well-being and inhibit your ability to feel happy and successful as a parent. Ask family members to take over when you feel like you’re juggling a lot on your plate or reach out to a close friend or neighbor.

5. Talk to Your Child

This might feel deceptively simple, but the truth is that taking some time out of your day to talk to your children can have a huge impact on how bonds form and how you feel about your role as a parent. Chat with your child and ask them about their day, their interests, and their concerns. Engage with their lives and try to relate to them at their level.

Parenting can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Try following the tips above to be a happier and more engaged parent!