The negative impacts of stress

Stress in the home has been shown to have a negative effect on children’s adjustment to preschool. High stress levels negatively affect the preschooler’s ability to:

  • cooperate with other children
  • relate to the teacher
  • concentrate
  • follow instructions

Stress relating to health, adult relationship problems and problems with discipline affect young children the most. Clear, calm communication and lots of love and support from family members are the key ingredients to helping children in stressful family situations. 

The major causes of stress are:

  • lives that are out of balance/not meeting our own needs
  • financial or other outside pressures
  • events which are beyond our control
  • having too much to do in too little time 

What to do when there is stress at home? 

A stressed parent will not be able to meet their children’s needs. It is important that parents take time out to meet their own needs first.

  • exercise (go for a walk, go swimming, join an exercise class)
  • delegate
  • read a book
  • talk about your feelings with your partner or a trusted friend
  • set realistic (small and achievable) goals
  • meet up with friends
  • join a support or community group (such as your Parents Centre committee!)
  • get out of the house- take time out for self (bath, relaxing music, massage)
  • get enough sleep
  • turn off your phone
  • say “no” to people who add to your stress levels
  • surround yourself with supportive friends
  • eat healthy food
  • drink lots of water
  • have fun with your kids!
  • stop trying to be superwoman or superman
  • let housework or long grass wait
  • organise a girls’ or boys’ night out once a month
  • ask yourself: “is this really important”?
  • say affirmations: “I am doing the best that I can” and “I can handle this” and “this too shall pass”
  • meditate
  • take up something new –  martial arts, pilates, yoga or zumba classes
  • let go – realise there are some things in life over which you have no control
  • take one day at a time (one hour at a time if you need to)
  • plan ahead (e.g. pack your nappy bag, hang out washing the night before)
  • do unpleasant or quick jobs first

These ‘Conscious Parenting Tips’ come from Parents Centres ‘Parenting With Purpose’  Programme. Check out our website to enquire when this programme will be running at a Centre near you.


Select Location (by Region)
60+Locations across Aotearoa, & online

weaving communities of
informed and connected parents