This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
Congratulations! Your order qualifies for free shipping You are $50 away from FREE shipping!

Self Care Tips for Parenting Elementary Aged Kids

Self Care Tips for Parents

In the whirlwind of raising kids, it's easy for parents to put themselves last. But what happens when those little ones aren't so little anymore, and the demands of parenting shift from physical to mental stamina? We sat down with Holly Cooper, founder of Seattle Elderberry and mom of 3 to get a REAL look into balancing life, self care, kids, and her sanity.

A Day In The Life

: Holly, give us the scoop. What does a typical day look like in your household with three elementary-aged kids?

A : A typical day with my three kids starts early at 6 AM, with breakfast chaos and school prep ending with us rushing out by 7:30. Right now, my youngest is having a hard time with a few things so having my husnand help out with mornings has been pretty critical. Despite the morning rush, I get to walking them into school which is usually a good moment for us to connect. Once they're in class, I seize the day for myself until pick-up at 2:30, followed by a whirlwind of after-school activities 3 nights a week. Our evenings center around family dinners, sharing our day's highs and lows. It's a full, busy life, but these moments of togetherness make it all worthwhile. Kids are all in bed by 9 and I'm usually ready to hit the pillow but I have an evening routine to help me unwind.

Self Care isn't Selfish

Q : With that hectic schedule, how do you carve out time for self care, and what does it look like for you?

A : In the midst of a busy family life, finding moments for self care amidst a packed schedule presents a challenge. With mornings and evenings devoted to family responsibilities and work commitments filling the daytime hours, dedicating time to personal well-being might seem like an elusive goal.

Let me tell you what- self care is NOT about spa days or leisurely baths. I'm more focused on finding moments for myself. I'm out of practice, but even waking up 15 minutes before the kids to make my (decaf) coffee in silence is a little treasure.

I also need physical activity. Sometimes that looks like a brisk walk with the dog while listening to an audiobook. It not only contributes to my physical health but also provides a mental escape through storytelling. While daily walks offer a baseline of activity, my mental health is usually in a better spot with more activity. I'll admit- I'm in a bit of a fitness rut since injuring my back in January. I'm challenging myself to try 1 new fitness class a week to find a place and style of workout that fit this season of life.

My most regular form of self care comes in the form of my evening routine. I do my short and sweet skincare routine and then I do a 5-15 minute meditation session after the kids are in bed. I look forward to the few minutes to anchor and relax and it has helped ease some nighttime anxiety that has been present lately. Because this evening meditation has been so helpful, I'm working on creating a daytime meditation habit as well. It's harder for me to have a routine since each day looks a bit different, but it's a good challenge that benefits my emotional and mental health.

I know that all sounds like a lot. I'm grateful to have a flexible part-time schedule that allows me about an hour scattered throughout the day to focus on resetting the nervous system and strengthening my mind and body. And I'm human- so there are some days where I'm really only getting in a 10 minute meditation. Those are also the days where I struggle more with my mood and energy! Those are also the days where I'll drag the kids out on an evening walk and guess what? We all usually feel a bit more grounded and centered afterwards!

Self care within a hectic lifestyle demands creativity and intentionality. It's about finding moments for myself to set a foundation of well-being that supports all of my roles and responsibilities.

Meditation interruption

"This might not be an actual self care tip, but boy do I love having a dog in the house. Our pup, Cu, decided to pop in for some ear scratches mid-meditation photoshoot. Taking care of a dog isn't always easy, but animals provide such valuable connection and seem to know when we need a little extra support. Shoutout to all of the support animals in the world!"

Breathwork interrupted by pet dog

The Art of 'Me Time'

Q : What strategies have worked best for maintaining your much-needed personal time?

A : The routine I spelled out above is easy for me to do during the school year. However, summer is an entirely different ballgame. I'm not too shy to say that sometimes I'll hang out in the bathroom for 5 minutes while I do a meditation. My movement during the summer months usually looks like a walk with the kids zooming by on their bikes. Or the kids tagging along to childcare at a fitness center. My husband works from home a decent amount and the kids are getting older so I think this summer I'll actually have an opportunity to leave them at home if I want to pop into a class that doesn't offer childcare! 

While the kids are getting ready for bed, sometimes I'll pull my yoga mat into one of their bedrooms just to lay and stretch for a few minutes. It allows me to be a part of the bedtime routine while I give my body and mind a bit of a rest.

Teaching Kids the value of Self Care

 Q : Can you share some insights on teaching self care practices to your kids?

A : I wish I had a magical answer like "when they see mom doing self care, it teaches them to do the same". That's the answer that people use, but honestly I don't know if it has sunk in over the years. I've had some (not fun) panic attacks over the last year and my kids know that some of these practices are like "medicine" to help me take better care of myself. My kids are kids! They get overwhelmed too and we talk about the importance of quiet time. We make note of how good we feel after spending time outdoors or good friends. We're admittedly not the best at expressing our feelings, but we're working on it. I'm hoping they will remember their parents taking care of themselves as they grow older, and I hope they will be able to practice self care for themselves now and forever.

post class at Barre3 Ballard


 Q : How has your self care routine changed over the years? What benefits have you seen?

A : Some people may disagree, but I think it was easier to have time for myself when my kids were young, at least in terms of working out. Welcoming the first baby into your family is always a HUGE shift, but eventually, things fall into a rhythm. I was a SAHM when I had my first so I had nap times where I could cook a good meal or do some yoga at home when I had the energy. When the second came along it was nuts again until we started finding our stride with routines. I also felt less guilt after my second baby, so the toddler and baby would hang out in the basement while I did exercise videos or we would head out for a walk with friends. By the time the 3rd kid came around, I was a part of a fitness studio that had great childcare, so my kids spent a decent amount of time there while I filled my movement and community buckets!

The younger years were more about keeping the kids alive, learning who they are and caring for their day-to-day needs while laying a foundation of trust and love ALL WHILE figuring out how to be a parent. I found it easier to bring kids into our lives and activities when they were young! To me, the "shift" as my kids have gotten older is the emotional and mental support that they need. There are friend issues at school and world events they want to talk about. There are questions and opinions and curiosity as their worlds continue to get a bit bigger. We are NOT an over-scheduled family, but with 3 kids who have unique interests we want to give them time to explore those interests!

I suppose what I'm trying to say is to be a good mom, I need to take care of myself. There's a lot more coming towards us in the realm of parenting as time goes on. It's freaking hard to do it all. It's even harder to do it all when my mental or emotional health has taken a nose dive. Self care or habits or whatever you want to call it are critical for me to be a decent human being in this day and age. My hope is that my kids will see me practicing self care as a way of life. I hope that some of the tools I'm using today can help them in their future. So, wherever you are in your self care journey, I encourage you to find meaningful moments to reinvigorate yourself. Maybe that's reading a book, or doing yoga, or a 5 minute breath work meditation or walking with a friend or blasting your favorite music on the radio on the way to the grocery store. You deserve to be fully yourself, even in the midst of seasons where little people need you. We're not striving for perfection. We're striving to keep our sanity and to be there for the ones we're caring for.

Some of my Self Care Beverages

Aside from Holly's commitment to meditation and fitness practices, she also said she loves making a special beverage in the afternoons to take a moment for herself! We've rounded up some of Holly's favorite Seattle Elderberry drink recipes! Try making a delicious Green Smoothie in the morning, an Elderberry Mocktail in the afternoon or a soothing cup of Elderberry Tea at night!









Use coupon code WELCOME20 for 20% off your first order.


Congratulations! Your order qualifies for free shipping You are $50 away from free shipping.
No more products available for purchase