We had a family friend over for dinner the other night. He’s a single dad of two boys. We started talking about how much energy we need as parents to really be focused and present for our kids. As a single dad, he mentioned how he can’t really “tap out” since there isn’t another parent to watch the kids while he takes a break.
I experienced the same with my kids, especially my daughter. She is just full of energy and “spirited” as they say. She’s always the one that wakes up at 6am, full of energy, no matter what time she went to sleep the night before. She’s does EVERYTHING at Level 10. When I ask her to say goodbye to her teacher at school, it isn’t a regular goodbye. It’s always a “GOODBYE!” that the entire daycare can hear. She is so full of energy, which can be completely draining as a parent.
And I’m sure we’ve all experienced it. When you are so exhausted that a little Netflix as their “babysitter” suddenly turns into 2 hours of watching PJ Mask (especially since Netflix auto-plays the next episode immediately!), just because we are too tired or we need to finish up something for work. While it is OK to take a break once and awhile, or let them watch TV as a conscious decision, how often do we distract the kids as a default? I quickly realized that this was becoming more of a habit, than a once in a while thing. Even worse, my kids started becoming addicted to watching TV and asking to watch TV all the time.
And then I thought — Instead of “tapping out” because our kids are high energy, why don’t we just get more energy as parents? Now, I’m not saying parents should never get a break. But consider asking yourself how often you “tap out” because YOU don’t have enough energy to keep up with your kids? Or your life to too disorganized that you can’t focus and be present with them?
I realized that I needed to have more energy (and be more organized) to keep up with my daughter and be fully present in a way that she deserves. Here are a few ways that I’ve found to get more energy:
- Eat better – I was eating out all the time and eating really unhealthy food. I hired a nutritionist to help me with my eating habits and definitely feel like I have more energy when I eat the right foods.
- Exercise more – I found that on days I exercise, I’m more productive and have more energy with the kids
- Sleep better – This one I’m definitely still working on, but on the days I got to sleep earlier, I wake up better with the kids
- Wake up before the kids – On the days I wake up before the kids and have “me” time, I start the day focused and with more energy.
- Know when your kids have the most energy and prepare for it – For me, there was a time I was in denial that 6am was, in fact, the time that my daughter had the most energy. So, I started reading and having mother-daughter time in the morning, when she would be the most receptive to it, even though that wouldn’t be my preferred time!
Do you tap out more than you’d like with your kids? What are strategies that you use to have more energy to keep up with your kids?