Why time away from your children is healthy

Every parent loves their child, but some days you just want to be able to get through an uninterrupted day of work or engage in adult conversation without a small person tugging at your sleeve.

During the pandemic, we have seen many families experience parental burnout due to the necessity of homeschooling and a reduction in available childcare due to government restrictions.  As a parent, you may have been made to feel that wanting your own time is selfish, but in actual fact, it is an exercise in wellbeing where the whole family benefits.

What is parental burnout?

Parental burnout was actually a term identified in the 1980s to define parents who were physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted from the demands of raising children. It is often accompanied by depression and an inability to cope with ordinary daily life. Parents who experience this often become more irritable, are easily angered and could suffer from chronic stress that leads to very real physical depletion and other debilitating health issues.

Working From Home and Parental Burnout

Over the last two years, many parents have been instructed to work from home to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Following these instructions and government restrictions, scores of parents were unable to access childcare services or were tasked with homeschooling. For a large portion of the global population, this meant performing double duty through paid work on top of looking after children and/or teaching. Being able to spend more time with your children can be wonderful, but there is such a thing as too much. Attending early childhood education and school are essential not just for learning and social development, but to give parents the ability to provide for their growing children.

At Child’s Play ELC, we understand that there is a misunderstood mentality that if you work from home, you can look after children as well. Unless your children are at an age where they are largely independent, we all know this is easier said than done. Recent studies have shown that this behaviour is not only detrimental to your health but has a negative effect on your children’s health too. As more parents than ever have experienced the effects of parental burnout, we want to reassure you that it is both normal and necessary to need time away from your children for work or leisure.

Five reasons it is extremely beneficial for families to have time apart

  1. Contented parents equal happy children

    Being a full-time parent, you are constantly on the go. It’s harder than a typical 9-5 job and can test you to the absolute limit. But as you know, when you are stressed and miserable, children will pick up on this. Finding ways to look after your own health and happiness will be healthier for your children as well.

    It can be hard to find the time to put yourself first so make it a priority to book a babysitter for the day or take an annual leave day every couple of months to seek out self-health activities. By taking ‘me time’, you get a chance to rest, practice mindfulness, go to the gym or indulge in hobbies. This isn’t just a case for rejuvenation, but about remembering who you are and what you love to do outside of being a parent. After you have children, it can be easy to feel like your old self has become lost. This gives you the chance to rediscover your identity.

  2. You’ll feel less lonely

    Parenting can be lonely when you don’t get much time to socialise with other adults. This can be another factor in parental burnout. Not having the chance to talk and open up about what you’re experiencing can exacerbate the condition. As parents, when we socialise, we find a sense of camaraderie when we hear and share stories about our children and the struggles that come along with them.

    When you send your children to childcare, you have more opportunities to socialise at work or catch up with valuable family and friends on your days off. You also have time to think about yourself and what you need to do to reach contentedness. No one is happy all of the time, but not allocating time to attend to your own wellbeing can lead to feelings of resentment and frustration.

  3. Your time with your children will be more valuable

    One of the main concerns parents have when sending children to daycare is the suggestion that they will miss out on development milestones or not being there to comfort them when they are upset. At Child’s Play, we want you to know that’s not the case. You’ll still be there for the important moments and in the meantime, they’ll be looked after by trained professionals who can comfort your children when you aren’t there.

    After a day of childcare, you can look forward to spending valuable, quality time together with your child that strengthens your relationship with your family. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Having your children run into your arms is a wonderfully rewarding experience after a long day. Whether you’ve been in the office, on the site or taken some time off, your children will have had a great day of learning, exploring and socialising. Everyone will feel as if they’ve earnt the reward of some lovely family time together.

  4. You are supporting their development

    Routines are such a crucial part of a child’s development as it allows them to learn about what to expect throughout the day and mentally prepare for change. It also begins to set them up for the routine of going to school and having a job later in life. These breaks that you take allow them to engage with other people and develop worldly skills. It also supports creative expression and boosts their confidence in risk-taking behaviours. By sending your child to a long daycare childcare like Child’s Play ELC, you are helping them understand structure and routines while having fun and making friends. There are so many benefits to them attending childcare, including:

  5. Look forward to more as a family

    When you’re not looking after children, you have more time to think logically and plan out activities that you want to do with your children. This gives you things to look forward to as a family, rather than just trying to cope with whatever events and incidents life throws at you. It’s easy to feel that you are falling behind when you simply try and keep up, but having the chance to be proactive will give you the feeling of getting ahead. This isn’t to say you need to have a calendar set with a whole bunch of activities and tasks, but it does give you a chance to sit back and think about what you would all like to enjoy doing together.

Your whole family benefits from childcare

Ultimately, sending your child to childcare, even for a couple of days a week, is an exercise in wellbeing. Not only are you improving the health of you and your family, but you are also contributing to a local business, supporting the economy and giving yourself the necessary opportunities to work and play.

Childcare is proven to be a highly beneficial environment for children as it is one of the most stimulating and supported environments they can be in. At Child’s Play ELC, we run a play-based curriculum to engage and support your child in their growth and development. Our family environment also means we invite parents to engage with our centres as needed and visit the rooms and activities their children participate in each day.

If you would like to know more about our curriculum, get in touch with one of our educators here.