It’s exhausting to be needed all the time by young children. It’s important to try and get some space BEFORE you get overwhelmed. Once you start yelling, it’s too late—the child feels hurt and you feel guilty, which makes any space and time alone not very enjoyable.
If you take some quiet time on a regular basis, the child will get used to it, and you’ll be less likely to explode. You can say something like, “I love spending time with you. But everyone needs a little solitude to rejuvenate. I will feel a lot better afterwards.”
If you explain yourself briefly and calmly, the child won’t feel abandoned and you’ll be role modeling how to create a healthy balance between interaction with others and peaceful solitude for yourself.
If you get to the point of losing your temper, simply apologize afterwards. Say, “Everyone needs some time to re-energize, and I’ve been ignoring a voice inside me that says, ‘I need to take some time for myself right now.’”
by Alison Poulsen, PhD