Looking after number one

Like all parents, you want to do the best for your child, to provide them with love and all the things they need to grow and develop. But how do you juggle the demands of looking after a toddler with your family, friends, partner, work and leisure, as well as looking after yourself?

The good news is, you don’t have to spend a fortune on toys and games. Nor do you need any special skills. What your child needs most of all is you. Toddler battles are most likely when you feel undervalued, overworked or that life’s getting on top of you. So you have to learn to put yourself first sometimes.

Try these useful tips:

Set yourself realistic goals

Implementing small changes can make a big difference to how you’re feeling. Make time to do things you enjoy, such as going to the cinema or out for a drink with a friend.

Take a look at your lifestyle

How healthy is your diet? When did you last take any exercise? Are you getting enough good sleep? Do you need help to stop smoking? Think about how to make positive changes.

Learn to switch off, even for a few minutes

Listen to some music, read a book or magazine, have a relaxing soak in the bath, catch up with an episode of your favourite TV programme or go outside for a walk.

Your mental health and wellbeing

Up to 20% of new mums will experience anxiety or depression, orsymptoms of both after the birth of a new baby. For some new mums this will happen very soon after the birth and others may experience difficulties when their baby is a bit older.

It is common to experience changes to your mental health and wellbeing. Often quite simple things can really help, such asspeaking to someone or getting a break. Sometimes you may need some extra support – speak to your GP or health visitor if you are concerned about your mental health. Remember you’re never completely on your own.

What might be affecting your mental health and wellbeing

Many families experience changes to routines, childcare arrangements and work commitments during the toddler stage. These changes can sometimes cause stress and affect your mental health. You may experience worries about how well you are juggling all your parenting roles and routines, how you feel you are coping with your toddler and thoughts around being a good enough parent. Other sources of stress may be money worries, health concerns or feeling isolated.

Keep a check on how you are doing

Just like your physical health, it is good to keep a check on your mental health and wellbeing. If you are feeling down and unable to enjoy things that you used to before or that you are unable to relax, talk things through and ask for help.

Feeling as well as you can will allow you to enjoy and manage this new phase of your child’s development.

Believe in yourself

Accept that you don’t have to be great at everything, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and accept help that’s offered.

For urgent help, you can visit nhsinform.scot or call NHS24 on 111 at any time of day or night. Remember you’re never completely on your own.

Last updated: 15 April 2019