Taking time for you: self-care and
positive parenting

What is self-care?

Self-care is the actions you take to look after your physical, social, mental or emotional wellbeing. It’s the things you do, and the decisions you make, to help you relax, recharge and feel at your best.

Practicing self-care can not only help you deal with the ups and downs of being a parent or carer more calmly, but it can also show children what it's like to care for themselves and others too. It’s also one of Triple P’s key principles of positive parenting.

There are plenty of ways to practice self-care. And it doesn’t have to be time-consuming, expensive or challenging to fit into a busy schedule. In fact, small acts of self-care can all add up to make a big difference.

Why is self-care important for parents?

Being a parent can be a tough job. You’re juggling many demands on your time, energy and resources.

Looking after yourself helps you feel more relaxed, calm and positive, especially in times of pressure. It can also help you develop more confidence in your parenting and be kinder to yourself when mistakes and setbacks happen.

At the same time, children watch and learn from their parents. Practicing self-care means you can model how to respond (rather than react) calmly to difficult situations.


Why do parents struggle to fit self-care into their life?

Most parents are juggling lots of different responsibilities. You might find it hard to make the time to look after yourself. Or self-care might feel like yet another item to add to your already busy schedule.

Maybe you see self-care as a luxury or an indulgence, or even feel selfish if you prioritize your needs. In some cases, the things you did to relax and recharge before you had children may no longer be as easy, or even possible.

It’s common to feel like self-care is an optional extra, however it’s an essential part of being a calm and positive parent.

How can i practise more self-care?

You don’t have to make big changes to look after yourself. Realistic steps that fit in with your life and feel good for you can all add up. Moment by moment, day by day, you can make small decisions that nurture your wellbeing. Over time, they can form new, positive patterns.

For example, you could go for a walk outside or take some slow, deep breaths. You could call a friend for a chat. A group activity or team sport might be your thing. Or you could simply curl up with a book, sip a coffee or tea, or spend a few moments of quiet time just for you.


How can i be kinder to myself when parenting gets tough?

Another form of self-care is self-compassion – being kind and understanding to yourself when you make mistakes or feel inadequate. Parenting can be tricky, and it's normal to feel discouraged and self-critical at times. The kinder you are to yourself, especially when you have setbacks, the better you'll feel about parenting. Being compassionate towards yourself can also inspire your children to do the same for themselves.


Help your whole family to thrive

You can achieve your parenting goals with the Triple P’s toolkit of parenting solutions and strategies. The Triple P - Positive Parenting Program® is the most widely researched parenting program in the world. Over 35 years of scientific testing and re-testing, hundreds of clinical trials and real-world studies prove it works for most families. Feel more confident as a parent, make family life less stressful, develop your child's life skills and help them reach their potential.