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How taking time away from your kids will make you a better parent

Published on: June 03, 2011

Patti Skelton-McGougan, Youth Eastside ServicesDid you know that taking time away from your kids to participate in a relaxing activity can actually have a positive impact on your parenting?

In fact, with hectic schedules and an abundance of activities kids and families participate in these days, it’s never been more vital that parents take care of their own needs.  And studies show that taking time out of our busy schedules for some self-care can help us rise to the challenges of parenthood more effectively.

In addition to giving you a rest so you can respond to the needs of your children with a clear head, by taking time out for yourself, you are modeling good self-care habits to your children. If children see their parents managing stress and coping in healthy ways they will be more likely to develop the same responses when stressful events arise in their own lives.

You might wonder, “How can I find the time or money?” But it can be anything from scheduling regular exercise to taking up a hobby, making an appointment for a manicure or pedicure, or creating time for something that you enjoy, like photography. You might even be able to blend some family and personal time by taking the kids to an activity you enjoy, or visiting a special place, but taking some time out for yourself while you’re there.

And it doesn’t have to cost money because a walk in a park, or special time with a friend work just as well. In fact, Debbi Halela, Director of Youth and Family Counseling at Youth Eastside Services says “Spending time with friends offers an important support system that is often needed when parenting. They can be a sounding board and help us feel less isolated and alone.”

And don’t forget that time with your spouse. It’s important for your marriage, and for your children to see that mom and dad enjoy spending time together and have a strong relationship.

So don’t feel guilty. Schedule an hour this week to do something just for you—in the name of good parenting!

Patti Skelton-McGougan is the Executive Director of Youth Eastside Services. YES is a nonprofit organization and a leading provider of youth counseling and substance abuse services in the region. Since 1968, YES has been a lifeline for kids and families, offering treatment, education and prevention services to help youth become healthy, confident and self-reliant and families to become strong, supportive and loving. While YES accepts insurance, Medicaid and offers a sliding scale, no one is turned away for inability to pay.  For more information, visit

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