Parenting in today’s world can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. With so much good information out there about how to be the best kind of parent, it’s easy to get so caught up in parenting that you lose yourself. Here are 5 feel-good tips for a happier, more balanced home life where both the children - and the parents - are healthy and happy.
- Find your own way
With all the good parenting advice we’re faced with today, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that it’s up to you to decide how you want to parent. Finding your own way of doing things can remove some of the pressure you feel to be a certain kind of parent.
Remember the things that made you feel good before you had children? Incorporating those things, or some version of those things, in your weekly routine is a great way to put your own wellbeing first. And when you feel good, chances are your children will as well.
So take up that hobby or interest that you don’t feel like you have time for anymore and get in touch with the friends you enjoyed before you became a parent. Maybe you can even share those interests with your children?
- Get out in nature
Few things have a more immediate effect on your general wellbeing than time spent outdoors in nature. Whether it’s a weekend family walk, a little hike, or a full camping trip, most of us can clearly feel the positive effects of time spent in nature.
A 2019 study showed that spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Being in nature reduces feelings of anger, fear and stress and contributes to your physical wellbeing by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and stress hormones. For children, the benefits of spending time in nature include reducing stress and fatigue, promoting physical activity naturally, and stimulating their senses.
For families with older children, a walk or hike in natural surroundings can sometimes make it easier to talk and enjoy spending time together than when you’re at home surrounded by screens and other distractions.
- Cook and enjoy meals together
Cooking and enjoying meals together is a family routine with so many perks:
- Creating healthy eating habits, fostering an open mind and curiosity about food, and learning basic cooking skills, are all things that are great for children to have with them through adolescence and into adulthood.
- Doing something together, especially when new skills are involved, is a great, relaxing way to spend time together. For older children, it can take some of the tension out of having a chat. Since the focus is on what you are doing with your hands, the conversation can flow more freely.
- Having a healthy vibe around food in the family is critical to the general health and wellbeing of every person in the family. Cooking together is a good way to explore new recipes and ingredients, and learn about nutrition and what makes our bodies feel good.
- Take some time away
We’ve all heard the analogy of putting on your own oxygen mask before helping your children or others, to remind us that we’re no good to anyone if we aren’t taking care of ourselves first. And while it may seem counterintuitive, sometimes the best thing you can do as a parent, is to take a bit of time away from parenting.
Whether it’s a weekend getaway, or a couple of hours every week, taking some time away alone, or together with your partner, can be essential to recharging your batteries and coming back home more ready to tackle the everyday strains of parenting.
- Make your home a soft place to land
Stress is on the rise in pretty much every age group, so it’s important to create a relaxing rhythm and atmosphere for both parents and children at home. Of course, in the busy lives we live, this is sometimes easier said than done!
But even when things are hectic, creating small spaces and moments for relaxation can make a big difference. Maybe it’s a quiet reading corner - that you actually use, if only for a few minutes. Or maybe it’s a few minutes spent stretching and winding down with your children before bed. Start small and discover how even little changes can change the atmosphere in your home and family.
- Lay the groundwork for a healthy family
It goes without saying that your health is the foundation for everything in your life.
One of the best things you can do to bolster your general health is support a healthy gut. A healthy gut is a gut in balance, where the good bacteria outnumber the bad bacteria by a 10:1. Taking a daily probiotic supplement is a safe, easy way for the whole family to boost the population of good bacteria in the gut.
Did you know that gut health is established already at birth?
Babies are born sterile, but immediately start to establish the gut microbiota that will serve them throughout their lives. How a baby is born (vaginally or by caesarian section) and how they are fed (breastfed or bottle fed) have a big effect on their early gut flora.
No matter which choices you make about these early factors, you can support the establishment of a healthy gut flora in your child by giving them a daily dose of probiotics. Supplementing with probiotics is safe to do from the very first day of life, when they’re given by drops. As children grow and develop, they can start to take their probiotics in the form of chewable tablets with yummy flavours.
Make sure that the probiotic you select is:
- well-researched, and backed by published scientific studies on the particular strain of probiotic that it contains
- well-suited to reach the gut alive and to colonise the human gut