Self-Care for Parents - Ready4K®
YOU time is important! Don't skip self-care. It powers your parenting.

By Maya Sussman, Ready4K director of product

“Last night I slept on a baseball…”

A year ago today this line opened our call-to-action about taking Self-Care in Small Moments. We knew that with the pandemic wreaking havoc with everyone’s daily routine, and stress skyrocketing, creative solutions to self-care were essential. 

We were so excited to read the responses, as many of you reached out to share your own self-care practices. From rereading favorite books to writing with colorful pens, your suggestions inspired us to look for more opportunities to incorporate small moments of self-care into our daily lives. 

On the Ready4K team, we embraced a form of collective self-care by sharing things that make us laugh, smile, or think. Now when one of us comes across a video that teaches us something, an article that inspires us, or a meme that just gives us a really good laugh, we share it with the rest of the team. 

While messaging about shared content is by no means a replacement for in-person interaction,  this habit of sharing has allowed us to stay connected on a personal level during a time of social isolation. And more than a year later, we have a pretty comprehensive collection of insightful, educational, and goofy resources.

But all year long, the question on our minds was whether the parents we serve were also embracing the call to self-care action. The answer was one we were thrilled to learn.

Can We Spark More Self-Care Moments?

“[The most helpful self-care tip was] taking time out for me, because I put every one else’s needs before mine.”

Ohio Ready4K parent

We know that over 90% of families report doing Ready4K activities with their children at least once per week. But parents are often more willing to invest an extra moment in their child’s social emotional well being than their own. We wondered whether families were using the parental self-care activities that we send, too. So in June we surveyed the parents and caregivers in our Trauma-Informed program to find out. 

As with all of our programs, the majority of the Trauma-Informed curriculum is geared towards supporting children’s growth and development. But about 30% of this program focuses on supporting parents and caregivers’ emotional health and well-being, including effective and easy-to-do self-care activities for adults. That means… if parents did each self-care activity when we sent it, they would be doing them about once or twice a month.

But it turns out 85% of the parents who responded to our survey said that they do Ready4K self-care activities at least once a week. That means they’re not just doing the activities when we send them. These small self-care moments are becoming part of their daily routines. In the same way that families are building habits around everyday learning moments, they’re also building habits around everyday self-care moments.

When we asked parents which of these self-care activities they found most helpful, some common themes emerged. We hope these activities will inspire your small self-care moments this summer, and we’ve included some highlights from our team’s shared archives to give you a head start.

Breathe Deep

Parents and caregivers from across the country cited deep breathing as their go-to self-care activity. 

“I stop and take deep breaths every time I feel anxious or overwhelmed. It’s daily.”

Woman breathing deeply

“Respiración porque me ayudaba a oxigenar mi cuerpo, pensar con más claridad y tranquilidad (Breathing because it helps me to bring oxygen into my body, to think with more clarity and calm)”

“Deep breathing, because as simple as it is to do I just never took the time out to do it.”

Ready4K Team Suggestion: Need a breather? Try this short mindfulness exercise from JusTme
(great for kids and grownups!)

Give Strength

Another self-care strategy that many parents and caregivers mentioned was reaching out to other parents, family members, or friends to offer and give support.

Women walking together

“Calling a fellow parent and asking if they need anything”

“Most recently, a virtual tea break with a friend…was a reminder that people want to hear from me and that sharing can be about anything from the day to day and catching up.”

“Hablar con otros padres, compartir experiencias (Talk to other parents, share experiences)”

Ready4K Team Suggestion: We love sharing unusual finds with each other. Spreading smiles and laughs is a great way to stay close. Here’s one that sparked a fun team conversation:
“Penguin drama can include serious crushes and heartbreaks… And these Japanese aquariums have it all charted in a flowchart that can be studied for hours.

Japanese aquarium's penguin relationship map

Pause and Notice

Parents with children of all ages shared the benefits they’ve seen from incorporating small moments of reflection and planning into their daily lives.

“Taking a breath sitting back and reviewing your day including your children. What was your best thing about the day and why?”

Woman looking to the side

“Setting goals and reflecting on baby’s photos were most helpful. Helped me to regroup my life and appreciate my daughter growing up learning new things.”

El consejo de anotar las cosas para el día siguiente. Por que me hace mas fácil mi días (The tip about writing things down for the next day, because it makes my days easier)”

Ready4K Team Suggestion: In a reflective mood? You’ll love these photo collections exploring the complexities of motherhood and fatherhood.

100 images of fatherhood

YOU Time

At the end of a long day, many parents find that taking even just a few minutes to do something they enjoy before bed helps them relax and sleep better.

“Relaxing before bed tip! It really helps me get the best sleep.”

Woman looking at a paper

“Taking 10 minutes before bedtime to do something relaxing for me. It allows me to process the day and leave the day behind so I can focus on good sleep”

“Doing my nails because it makes me feel pretty”

Ready4K Team Suggestion: Looking for a soundtrack for your ‘you time’? Chillhop Music has relaxing tunes that will help you unwind at the end of the day

Image of a Chillhop music collection

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