Do you have moments throughout the day when you feel great as a parent? When your kids are happy, you are happy, you are all hugging, laughing and kissing one other? You know the feeling of wonderment. Now, do you also have times when you don’t love being a parent? Have you felt at your wits end, frustrated, angry and resentful? Here are two simple ways you can be a happy parent more often than passing moments in your day.

Ask yourself two very important questions:

1. When are you happiest with your kids?

2. What part of the normal day with your family routinely causes suffering?

After you have answered these questions, you will see that there tends to be patterns or times during the day when things go haywire for you or when life is flowing smoothly.

When does life flow in your home? What are you doing with your children when everyone is most happy? Is there a way to increase these times? What is going on with you that you feel so happy to be around your kids?

Parents say that morning, after school, dinner time and bed time are the most stressful for them. Would you agree? Look at each time period more closely and see what leads up to the stress. Is it that there really is not a routine in place? Is there no structure around a certain activity? Do your children know your expectations and if necessary, the consequences? And, do you follow through on your word or just give up to appease the situation?

Kids love and adore routine and structure; not rigid, but consistent and calm structure. They also love predictability, so be sure to sit down and talk to your children about any routines you see that need to be put into place.

Now that you will have some comforting routines in place for your children, begin to think about ones YOU might need. Do you feel stressed after coming home from work? Find a way to wind down for 15-20 mins before you move into the next phase of the evening. Ideas?

• You could go to your room, change into comfy clothes and take 10 deep breaths.
• You could read a book
• You could do a short yoga routine
• You could lie down and close your eyes for 15 minutes
• You could lie on your bed or the sofa and listen to classical musical

Find whatever it is you think would help you re-energize before moving on to the task that usually stresses you.

Becoming conscious of the certain times when you are happiest with your kids and when you’re not allows you to stop, think, and redesign your family’s routine. It’s doable, you just have to make the necessary decisions, share and discuss them with your family and then be consistent. Your motivator will be the calm and habitual happiness you will feel.

Image: Autumm

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