Yes, parenting can be a struggle!

Every parent finds parenting difficult. There can be days when it feels like everything is a struggle.

Be kind to yourself. It’s important to look after yourself too. Some of these tips might be helpful for you.

Make time for yourself

You deserve some free time for relaxation or fun. Take opportunities to socialise or relax when they come.

Here are some tips that might help you make time for yourself:

  • Don’t worry about maintaining the perfect home – cleaning can wait if you need a break.
  • Try not to cook meals from scratch every day – batch cook in advance or use leftovers for meals.
  • If you can, ask your partner or friends and family to help you free up some time.
  • Don’t feel guilty for leaving your child with a childminder – you know they are being well looked after.

Try for a fresh start

If you’re having a difficult day, try to take a moment and start again. This can be easier said than done, but it can help to turn a difficult situation around.

If you’re losing patience with your child, draw a line under it, and try again. You can deal with this situation. You will feel more confident when you have had success.

Let your children make decisions

You can do too much for your child. Some will fight for their independence. Others will allow you to do everything for them.

Give your child the space to make mistakes and learn from them. This will support their independence and confidence.

Tune into your child

Every child is different. Some children are quiet and will love playing with puzzles and jigsaws. Other children have high energy and need to run around a lot.

Let your child show you what they like. Have fun together doing activities or games that suit their personality type.

How you speak about your child

Be careful about how you speak about your child in front of your child. They are always listening.

Children will live up to both high and low expectations.

Say sorry

It’s OK to say “I’m having a bad day. I’m sorry that I shouted at you. I love you.”

This sets a good example for your child. They will learn to say ‘sorry’ too.

Pick your battles

Don’t try to change everything. Small changes can make a big difference. Celebrate the small wins.

Problem solving

Children are always learning from how we cope with problems or mistakes along the way.

Get them to help you with small jobs or problems around the house. Talk them through how you solve problems.

This will teach them problem-solving skills early in life. Praise them for solving smaller problems themselves.

Social media

Make an effort to limit social media use daily. Make this a family rule.

Limit the use of social media around your children. It doesn’t allow you to bond with your child.

Don’t compare yourself to others on social media. Families that look perfect on Facebook have bad days too.

If you feel that one bad day has turned into a bad week or month, talk to your GP or public health nurse. They will guide you to services that can support you.

For more tips and advice for parents see


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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.


The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books ( and also on  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.


In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  


Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  


In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from

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