On the Value of Taking Breaks as a Parent

The concept of taking breaks when we’re overwhelmed is a common one that many people employ, but it can be a bit more nuanced when it comes to caring for your children. Some parents understandably feel bad about taking time away from their kids, even for short periods – but the reality is that, when approached correctly, parental breaks are hugely beneficial for both parents and kids alike.

At Sunrise Solutions, we’re happy to offer family counseling services to families around Sandy, Draper and nearby areas in addition to our relationship and individual therapy programs. Here are some of the facts on how taking periodic breaks can benefit both parents and kids, plus some best practices for doing this without creating further problems. 

family hugging cheerfully

Parenting is Important; It’s Not Your Whole Life

For many parents, it’s a real struggle to balance parenting and work, or to create meaningful relationships outside the family. It’s important to remember that parenting isn’t everything: it’s just one vital part of your life, and taking regular breaks can help you stay in tune with all the other aspects that make up who you are.

Simply being okay with taking breaks and not feeling guilty about it is a huge step forward in creating healthier relationships with your children. 

Helps Refresh the Parent

In many cases, taking a break can actually help you be a better parent. When we take time off and re-energize, we’re in a much better position to deal with parenting challenges when they come up. A refreshed parent is more likely to find creative solutions to even the most complicated problems, while exhaustion and stress can make those issues seem overwhelming. 

It’s also important to remember that parenting isn’t something that should go on forever, and it’s perfectly okay to take a break every now and then.

Helping Kids With Separation

Furthermore, periodic breaks can actually help children learn to cope with the concept of separation and practice self-care. This is especially true for younger children, who often have difficulty understanding why their parents need or want to take a break. 

By providing examples of healthy separation early on in life, you can help your child become more independent. Breaks show kids that while they may have to spend brief periods of time away from you, you’ll always return and love them. 

This, in turn, helps kids learn how to take care of themselves and trust that everything will be alright even when their parents aren’t around. 

Letting Your Kids Enjoy Their “Me Time”

It’s also important for your own self-care to remember that taking breaks isn’t only beneficial for you, it can help your children too. A break from the everyday stresses of parenting can help both kids and adults appreciate the time they get to spend together. 

Whether it’s a simple activity like going on a walk or enjoying some outdoor playtime, having moments that are just theirs – free of parental oversight – can provide much needed mental breaks for your kids too, while still providing them with structure and security. 

Best Practices for Parent Breaks

Here are some general tips from our professionals on taking breaks as a parent:

  • Lean on your spouse for support: For couples with children, having a partner can make taking breaks much more manageable. If you must go solo, make sure to let your partner know what’s going on;
  • Make the most of short breaks: Taking a break doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. Just 20 minutes of me time can do wonders for relieving stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and can’t take the whole day off, try taking small but regular breaks throughout the day; 
  • Take advantage of technology: For parents who can’t take physical breaks, tech-based solutions like video games and virtual reality experiences provide a great way to enjoy some quality “me time” without leaving home. 
  • Planned breaks: For some parents, it’s helpful to plan ahead and schedule breaks for themselves. Whether it’s a morning jog or a regular night out with friends, making sure you take time off on a regular basis can help prevent burnout and ensure that you’re well-rested. 

Ultimately, taking periodic breaks as a parent is an important part of being mentally healthy – not just for you, but for your children as well. When done right, parental breaks can be a great way to gain perspective and create stronger family bonds. 

At Sunrise Solutions, we offer family counseling services to help families find a better balance, as well as individual therapy programs for those looking for more specialized support. To learn more about our services for patients around Sandy, Draper and nearby areas, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!