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9 Times You Need to Try Relaxed Parenting

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I recently brought a newborn home and discovered I have to be a little less rigid. Attempting to maintain my toddler’s routine, cook, clean the house, and care for a newborn at the same time was next to impossible—and also unnecessary. I was adding additional stress to an already stressful situation. I learned pretty quickly that I needed to lean into the relaxed parenting thing.

Whether you just brought home a newborn or are scoping out colleges, there are times when you really ought to give yourself permission to ease up. Here are 9 times I say we need to be OK with relaxed parenting.

In a Crisis or Emergency

Raise your hand if you ate cereal for dinner during quarantine! Whether a pandemic, a hurricane, or a death in the family, crises absolutely can throw our routines for a loop. There is something to be said for the peace that normalcy brings, but if the bending the bedtime or screentime rules gives you a moment to rest, bend away!

When Your Kid Needs a Boost

When your child is feeling down, needs encouragement, or deserves a reward, by all means, forgo the routine for a treat like ice cream out or stay up late with a walk around the block or extra snuggles with Mom.

When You’re Feeling Rough

Sure, you are still “Mom” when you’re sick. But cut yourself some slack on these days. It’s OK to allow your children to entertain themselves while you rest up.

When You’re on Vacation

Is a vacation really a vacation if the number one rule isn’t that there are no rules? Master relaxed parenting and go all-in on the fun next time.

During Pregnancy

Let yourself relax. If that means allowing a little extra screen time or ordering takeout three times some weeks, that is OK.

While Potty Training

In order to get our toddler to sit on her potty chair for more than four seconds, we allowed her to watch nursery rhyme videos for as long as it took for her to finally go. Do what you have to do to make this messy endeavor easier!

When You Have House Guests

Let’s face it: When Grandma and Grandpa are in town, anything goes! Don’t focus so much on the rules that you lose sight of the value of quality time with family.

During the Holidays

Trying to avoid sweets and skipped naptimes during the holidays is more stressful than giving in. Say yes to the extra cookie after dinner if it means a little more sanity for everyone.

When You’re Adjusting to a Big Change

There’s something fun about eating pizza out of the box on a blanket in the living room of your new house because you have no furniture yet. Take that snapshot and apply it to other moments when there’s an opportunity to use relaxed parenting to ease into a time of transition, like changing schools, a graduation, or even a teenage break up.

When else do you think it’s good to relax the rules?


What’s one rule we have that you’d like to change?

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