I know my oldest is starting to show a lot of anxiety surrounding household stuff (he’s only four, and worries about the dishwasher and fire alarms..), it seems I’ve only shown him how I take care of everyone else. He worries about his brother needed a drink, or his baby sister crying and the reasons she might be. He doesn’t often let me know what he needs because he’s telling me what he thinks they need. I realized, I’ve got to show him how I take care of myself too, if I want him to take care of himself properly.
So, here are some tips on taking care of you, for them!
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How to Stay Healthy as a Busy Parent
Write Daily To-Do Lists
Okay, full stop. I’m the type of person that thinks I can remember everything, because I know what’s important and I do this everyday, so I don’t need help. And then Wade doesn’t make it to Taekwondo class, Kody forgets he has an appointment and I don’t thaw out meat for dinner.
Just make the list. Create your own schedule. Give yourself a visual tool to see, and check off. It will surprise you how accomplished you feel looking at a fully checked-off list!
Obviously, life happens and your schedule won’t always remain the same. Still, having a base structure helps to stay organized.
Eat Breakfast Every Day
How many times do we (moms, I’m talking to you) remind our kids how important it is to eat breakfast? Like, every day right? Then why didn’t you eat breakfast this morning? What about you, dads? Did you?
Breakfast gets your mind and body ready for the rest of the day. Without it, you won’t have the energy to get all of those tasks we put on the list out of the way. The horror! An uncompleted to-do list! (Not scared? It’s just me?)
Anyway, since you’re making breakfast for the kids anyway, grab yourself something too. And no, coffee is not breakfast.
Related Post: Healthy Habits We Can Teach Our Kids
Stick To Meal times
Honestly, you feed your kids at the same times usually, so why aren’t you eating with them? At least dinner should be at a time that allows you to have a few hours before bed. No one likes going to bed on a full stomach (or being stuck in the bathroom at 2 AM.. not that I would know).
Set a time to eat, and try to do it every single day. If you work, pack your dinner. If you have dinner plans, set them for the time you usually eat. It pays off, trust me.
Play With Your Kids
Finding time to work out on a busy schedule can be difficult, but it’s so doable. I go more into detail about it in the linked post above, but parents have a few extra tricks!
If you can’t fit in a trip to the gym, go to the park and play tag! Running around is still exercising, and you might even do it longer than you realize! Jump rope and hula hooping are also awesome, in my humble opinion.
You can also just play football or soccer in the backyard, even going out to ride bikes counts as exercise! Plus, it keeps your kids active and away from the blue-light screens.
Related Post: Happy and Healthy: Helping Kids Thrive
Carry Water Everywhere
Visit Your Doctor
Most people feel like they’re struggling to stay healthy. If you’re one of those people, you should probably go ask your doctor for a little help. If they’re anything like the doctors from North Suburban Physicians Group, they’ll offer you advice to improve your health before you get sick or injured! This is one of the critical steps to stay healthy as a busy parent. Try scheduling your children’s visits for the same day, that way you can make one trip!
Related Post: 4 Essential Health Checks For The Family
You also need to attend regular check ups, and visit when you could be sick. Putting appointments off and skipping them helps your schedule now, but you are only causing yourself more damage (as well as teaching the kids it’s okay!).
Keep Healthy Snacks Close
I’m struggling with this one right now. My cortisone levels are off the charts, and as a result I’m craving all the sweet things. I can’t give in though, because those things won’t give me the energy my body needs.
As busy as parents are, we need to snack between meals for that extra boost. Prepare ahead of time, make things like fruit, vegetables and nuts before you’re hungry. Then you’ll have something quick to grab that’s just as easy as the unhealthy options. If you don’t think your kids will go for it, check out my post on teaching kids to make healthy food choices.
Get Enough Sleep
Most adults need six hours of sleep, but I think parents (at least ME) need a few extra hours. It gets easy if you set yourself a bedtime, no joke. Maintain it like you expect your kids to (remember that whole “setting an example” thing we talked about?).
Getting yourself into a routine will help you fall asleep quicker! You could even try napping during nap time. Crazy right? I know how easy it is to fill your kids nap hour with phone calls or meetings, try napping net time. See how you feel!
Have Some Me Time
We all love spending time with our children. That’s a given. But, you have got to take time for yourself now and then. As busy as you are, this can seem impossible. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring a babysitter to go out and do something kid-free.
Being a parent is super exhausting, but if you don’t want to feel worse, you’ve got to take care of yourself. They need to see you healthy, and learn healthy routines that are led by you.