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DONíT GET TIED UP IN KNOTS
This is from a brochure produced by the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse. Itís about coping with stress when thereís too much to do, too little time, and not enough money. No wonder we get stressed! But stress strikes everyone. As parents of young children, weíre coping with so many new life situations Ė new job, new house, new car, new responsibilities.

Reducing stress is important for your sake as well as for your child. Children thrive when a parent can relax and take time and interest in them. Children need to know that their world is predictable and that you want to take good care of them. Reducing stress gives you the time and energy to be a better parent. In fact, you can be better at everything you do if less of your energy is wasted by stress. Great, right? So how?

Begin by taking control of your life. Think about when youíre most stressed. Itís probably when you are in situations beyond your control Ė a bus that arrives late, a long line in the grocery store, a big project at work. Make a list of tasks that must be completed, check them off as you go, and congratulate yourself with each accomplishment. When youíre working on one task, donít worry about others. Youíll do a better job in less time concentrating on one thing at a time. Establish a routine. Your home life will be much more comfortable if everyone knows what to expect when. Have regular mealtimes, bedtime, and time for play.

Make those decisions that have been hanging over your head. Uncertainty is more stressful than making difficult decisions and setting a plan of action. Once you start making necessary decisions about your future, youíll feel better. Donít be hard on yourself. After youíve made a decision, follow through with confidence. Donít second guess yourself or have regrets.

Donít become isolated. Itís easy to get into such a routine that it seems that taking time for friends is a luxury you canít afford. After all, you donít even have enough time to spend with your children. Being with other people can be supportive and nurturing. Time away from everyday pressures helps put your life into perspective and gets rid of tension. This includes taking care of yourself. A healthy, fit, and well-rested body goes a long way toward having enough stamina to do all that you need to do.

You will notice that your childís behavior improves as stress is reduced in your life. A happy parent, a stable life, and a good parent/child relationship are very comforting to children. Just remember that the journey is a lot more important than the destination.

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