“For me it’s always been, and I think that’s for a lot of parents, it’s more about how can I help my child. Practically, how can I help them? Then, how can I help them emotionally? And then, is there anything else that I could be doing that I’m not doing? ... Oh ok, there’s an impact on me.”

Most people will have heard the announcement from a flight attendant that, “in the event of a sudden change in cabin pressure, you must put on your own oxygen mask before assisting those around you”. It isn’t selfish or self-serving to put your mask on first. You’re told to do it because you won’t be much help to anyone else if you’re gasping for air!

The same applies in our lives outside of the aircraft. If we don’t look after ourselves first, we will become worn out from helping others. And when we’re worn out, we‘re no help at all.

It is really important that you pay attention to your own needs so that you are equipped to meet the needs of your child and your wider family.

Think. What is your oxygen mask?

What do you need to do each day so that you are best able to help your child?


If you’re exhausted, you can’t function for your family as you want to. You’re at risk of becoming run down, prone to illness, and frustrated.


Remember to take care of your body and remember your own healthcare regimes. Physical activity has a significant positive impact on mental and physical functioning. You could go for a walk, go swimming, practise yoga, take the stairs instead of the lift, or do some gardening.

Time out

Sometimes, we all need a bit of space or time alone to relax, think, or just to breathe!

Focus on your goals

Don’t lose sight of things that are important to you. You might find it helpful to focus on reading a book, completing a puzzle or jigsaw, or even a specific task at work.


Find time for yourself to spend with friends or family. They can also be a really valuable source of support.


At times, it might feel hard to notice anything that’s enjoyable. You might even feel like you don’t deserve it. Finding some enjoyment is necessary for your own wellbeing, which will also benefit your child and family.