It’s easier than ever to be distracted in today’s fast-paced age, especially if you’re a parent. But being distracted while watching your kids is a safety issue, and the military community is not immune. Be aware of these common distractions:
• Technology (including use of smartphones and online games)
• Stress (due to everyday situations or the unique circumstances of military life)
• Daily tasks (like laundry, cooking, or other chores around the house)
It’s important to take time for yourself, but don’t put your children in danger, or miss out on important parts of their lives, because you weren’t paying attention. If you feel that distractions or stressors are getting in the way of your ability to juggle parenting responsibilities, support is available.
Call 800-342-9647 to get more information from Military OneSource on balancing parenting with distractions and military life. The New Parent Support Program is also a great resource to help you adjust to life as a military parent.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Bath time can be just as dangerous as pool time. Drowning is a top cause of unintentional injury and death among children. Even if there’s just four inches of water in a bathtub, it’s crucial to pay attention the whole time your kids are in the water. It’s a high-risk situation during which a parent should never be using a cellphone, doing something in the next room, or otherwise distracted.
• Leaving a young child unsupervised, even for a brief amount of time, could mean a trip to the emergency room. Playtime might not seem dangerous, but five minutes is enough time for an active toddler to climb a bookshelf and fall, or open the front door and cross the street. If you have to step away, make sure your child is within your line of sight or in a safe situation first.
• Spending too much time on technology can hurt your child’s development. Face-to-face interactions are the primary way children learn — so when technology gets in the way of that, your children miss out on important developmental milestones. Finding time to unplug will benefit your child. For fun ideas and activities for military families, check out your installation’s MWR programs.
DISTRACTION FROM PERSONAL OR FAMILY STRESS
Being a parent or spouse sometimes involves dealing with difficult circumstances. Experiencing a personal or family challenge does not mean you are putting your children in harm’s way, but sometimes it can distract parents from parenting responsibilities and kids’ needs.
When stressful situations make parenting more challenging, asking for help is one of the best things you can do to be a great parent. To help you navigate tough times, Military OneSource offers non-medical counseling for military families. It is also recommended that you talk with your doctor or someone else you trust if you feel that a personal challenge is affecting your ability to manage everyday life.
Some parents — about 15 percent of women and 4 percent of men — experience postpartum depression, a type of depression that occurs after childbirth. The symptoms can make it difficult for parents to complete daily activities and care for themselves and their families. If you’re concerned about this condition, tell your doctor right away. You can also contact your installation’s New Parent Support Program, which offers extensive support to first-time parents and parents of young children. Military OneSource has information that can help you learn more about postpartum depression and find support.
Marital conflict is another source of stress that can make it difficult to focus on parenting responsibilities. Military OneSource offers many resources that can help couples work through their challenges. Call 800-342-9647 or chat with us to schedule non-medical counseling. Experienced counselors are ready to listen and support you. You can also read more about marriage as a military couple on the Military OneSource website.•
– Military OneSource