Updated: Sep 12, 2022
With the school year starting back up for many, it’s important that both parents and students are ready for the transition. Self-care for a parent during these times is just as important as ever and shouldn’t be put on the back burner. In addition, it’s important to find ways to help motivate your child to be successful in not only school but in life moving forward. Here are a few tips to ensure parents are taking care of themselves and their children.
Find a Morning Routine That Works For You
As many parents know, mornings with a child can often be a hectic affair. It’s important as a parent to be able to develop a routine that you can rely on for consistency each morning. According to Northwestern Medicine, having a routine can reduce your stress, help you get better sleep, result in a healthier lifestyle, and set a good example for your children.
Each person’s morning routine will look different, and that’s to be expected. Some parents may want to wake up an hour earlier to have time to read a book with their coffee, while others may opt for listening to a podcast while preparing their child's lunch. Whatever it may be, make it a priority to have a consistent routine each morning, as it allows your brain to focus on each task and better prepare for the day ahead.
Carve Out Separate Space at Home
Making sure that you and your child each have your own space in the house is crucial not only for organizational purposes but also to allow each of you to focus on the tasks at hand. While not everyone may have the space for separate offices or workplaces, carving out separate spaces in the living room and at the kitchen table is better than nothing.
For those that work from home or simply need more space, consider renovating your home so you and your child can each have your own space to work. There are many benefits to a dedicated workspace ranging from increased productivity, heightened attention to your work, and a physical disconnect between work and personal time—helping in your work-life balance. If you’re considering an additional space, many people opt for leveraging a line of credit through the equity built in your home. This option provides funds as needed, and when used on home improvements often qualifies for a tax deduction.
Having a separate space to yourself also gives you more options for self-care routines. Maybe you can start doing yoga, turn it into a craft room, or have more space for your antiques. Whatever it may be, the extra space allows you to explore more options that bring you joy.
Work on Finding Your Child’s Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation is defined as “the doing of an activity for its inherent satisfaction rather than for some separable consequence.” Simply put, this means doing something for the enjoyment of it, or for the satisfaction of the act. Now, this is easier said than done, but it’s important to aid your child in helping them find what’s most interesting. Of course they’ll still have to do their math homework even if it’s not intrinsically motivating, but if you find they enjoy reading more about history, encourage them to dig deeper than just a textbook.
Some ways to help your child find motivation is to allow them to make their own mistakes without berating them or punishing them. In addition to mistakes being crucial learning points, it also allows them to find the motivation to try again and not simply give up. It’s also important to break down goals into smaller chunks and learn to celebrate the successes. Breaking down goals will help them better understand their personal progress while celebrating successes can help them better discover what they find truly rewarding.
Help Your Child Decide And Allow Them to Explore
In the same vein as intrinsic motivation, it’s important to help your child explore other walks of life and allow them to choose their own actions. Not only does this help with your child’s decision-making, but at their age, they have the ability to fail and still utilize their parents as a safety net. For what seems like the first half of your child’s life, you are a parent and a parent only, but at some point that relationship transitions slightly into not only a parent, but a friend. You get to be there for your child and help them better explore what they find most interesting in life.
Making sure that you’re paying attention to both yourself and your child can be difficult at times. Try to develop a healthy morning routine and allow yourself the space to explore activities that you find relaxing and rewarding. Motivating your child can seem impossible at times, but it helps to make sure you’re guiding them, not forcing them down a path they wouldn’t choose for themselves. Help them explore their options and give them the space they need to choose what motivates them.