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8 Tips to Avoid Cranky Parenting

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Did you see the study that says screen-time makes parents cranky? Just in case you missed the study from Boston Medical Center, here’s the crux of it: Parents who are on their screen devices when they are also with their kids are super cranky.

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I will admit that crankiness is my Achilles heel of parenting. For me, my kids pulling me away from an urgent text message doesn’t cause me to come down with the crankies, but the time of day does. If it’s 5 p.m., I’m cranky. My kids are tired and hungry, and my fuse is short. I’m sure I’m not alone. 5 p.m. may be my kids’ witching hour, but it’s my cranky hour.

It occurs to me that whether it’s distraction from iPads or just being worn down by the day, there’s a lot about parenting that makes us parents downright cranky. If your kids are like mine, they take your short fuse personally when it often has nothing to do with them. Regardless, crankiness seems like a parenting trap we should all avoid.

So I’ve decided to do my best not to be so cranked up. Here are some ways to avoid being a cranky parent. You're welcome, kids.

1. Don’t text and parent. If an entire scientific study is focused on parents getting cranky because their kids are pulling them away from their Facebook news feed, then maybe just don’t do it when your kids are within a 5-mile radius.

Most parents get cranky because their kids are cranky.

2. For goodness sake, eat! As parents, we are keenly aware that our kids get cranky when they don’t eat. And yet, we parents don’t get time to have breakfast until noon, at best. So do what you’d do for your cranky kid who’s hungry: feed the beast. In this case, the beast is you!

3. Build in quiet time. Sometimes a 15-minute break makes me feel a whole lot less cranky. So if you have a little one, let him have tummy time while you catch up on Vanity Fair. If you have bigger ones, maybe they’re going to watch TV for 15 minutes or take a break, themselves.

4. Express yourself. It’s hard for kids to imagine that moms have feelings, too. That’s because we never tell them we do. There’s nothing wrong with telling the kids your fuse is short and you’re going to be quiet for a few minutes. Chances are, they’ll try to help. Which could be really cute.

5. Don’t over-schedule yourself. Everyone’s talking about over-scheduled kids, but what about over-scheduled moms? There are few things that can make me crankier than having to race from school pick-up to Tae Kwan Do and on to swimming, all with no time to spare. So maybe the kids are going to have to do less or miss that birthday party 30 minutes away, but at least they won’t get picked up by a mom who is ready to bite their heads off.

6. Know what to expect from your kids. Most parents get cranky because their kids are cranky. So if there’s that certain time of day when the kids fight in the car, stay home. If homework amps them up, do it earlier so they’re not tired when it’s time to get to work. Be realistic about your kids’ cranky times, and you’ll be able to avoid yours.

7. Pass off to dad. If he’s not home, it’s tough. But if he is, there's nothing wrong with calling in some backup when you feel your fuse is getting short.

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8. Know your own limits. Stop trying to be Superwoman, and admit that you have limits. Me, I need a little quiet time in the late afternoon. And I need a snack. My husband needs more naps than an infant, or he gets a major case of the crankies. Some people need to exercise, others need to talk to a friend.

Regardless, do whatever it is you need to do to keep you from cranking out. Your kids will thank you!

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