Generation Next Blog
Top tips to fight family fatigue
50% of families are suffering from family fatigue.
Parents take note! – There’s no need to feel guilty anymore. Slow down, put your feet up, take time for that extra cuppa… relax.
The latest research has shown that children need time and space to just play. All their spare time doesn’t need to be taken up with ‘activities’. This is great news for parents who are used to ferrying their kids here there and everywhere in a never ending bid to make sure they are not missing out on anything.
The latest Let’s Play survey run by parenting website Kidsspot found that in 46% of families children only had a few hours of free time each day.
Let’s Play surveyed more than 400 Aussie parents with young kids and found that nearly 50% were suffering from “family fatigue”.
Too many extracurricular activities are not actually helping families live a balanced and harmonious lifestyle, quite the opposite in fact; they are creating a hectic schedule where parents are becoming stressed and children are loosing the ability to amuse themselves and develop their potential and self reliance.
British parenting writer and philosopher, Tom Hodgkinson agrees. He is author of The Idle Parent and he says “When I researched The Idle Parent, it was fairly obvious to me that (stress through over scheduling) was what was happening all over the world.”
“All the activities cost money so you’re encouraged to fill up your time and pay for these activities and that contributes to the growth of the economy … it starts with the baby, when we’re encouraged to buy these hugely expensive strollers. From the moment it’s born, the baby is a sort of commodity.”
Alex Brooks, editor of Australian parenting website Kidspot said “We all think we can be better parents by doing more … by enriching the child in some way – it might be a music or dance lesson or a sports activity, but it’s not necessarily to the benefit of the whole family. I think we often forget to think of the benefits of doing nothing for the kids.”
TIPS TO FIGHT FAMILY FATIGUE
• Eat together as a family in the evening. It helps touch base with everyone’s day. Tell each other about your ‘fun’ thing and ‘hard’ thing that happened that day, this helps build resilliance.
• Limit your child’s activities to 1 or 2 per week, but let them choose what they want to do.
• Make sure both mum and dad assess their routines to make sure they are ‘do-able’ and not stressful.
• Make time for your children to have unstructured play.
• Stay at home, drag out the dress-up or craft box. Investigate the recycling bin and see what can be made out of the old boxes. Find new uses for household items. Encourage your kids to be imaginative and creative by using what is around them to make things.
• Turn off the TV or computer and send the kids outside to play in the garden. This works really well if you can invite other children round to play at the same time.
• Go camping with other families who have children and explore the outdoors together.
• Make sure everyone in the family is getting enough sleep. That includes parents. No family can function when parents are exhausted and sleep deprived.
Writer Helen Splarn. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.
Source: WA Today