Skip to main content
The contents of these pages have been automatically translated into the selected language. Deviations from the contents of the original page are therefore possible.

Parent Burnout

Stress trap multi-child family: So you recognize the signs of a burnout and protect your health


I can't take it anymore: When everything becomes too much

Parents of three and more children have a "round-the-clock, full-time job", often in addition to their professional activities. Never-ending to-do lists and new surprises every day leave little room for relaxation or their own wishes. Multi-child families often demand a lot from parents, sometimes too much. Many parents are not aware that they run the risk of burning out. Learn how to recognize warning signs and protect their mental health.

Attention Burnout Danger: Recognizing Warning Signs

You have the feeling that you are running out of energy, nothing works out the way it used to and you hardly feel any joy.

Typical signals of a burnout syndrome can be:

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Deep exhaustion
  • Internal emptiness
  • Sleeplessness because of circling thoughts about everyday issues
  • Tormenting self-doubt or guilt
  • Dropping performance
  • Breaks do not bring recovery
  • The joy of being involved with the children disappears, instead, a distance arises emotionally
  • The nerves are bare: Irritability, tears, tantrums, psychological or physical violence may occur.

If you notice some of these signs in yourself and they persist for a long time, these could be indications of a burnout risk. Then it is important to think about relief and take measures to avoid health and psychological risks - preferably with medical and, if necessary, psychological support.

Protecting yourself from stress: taking stock

It is not unusual for parents to feel overwhelmed at times. After all, there are new challenges every day, often with special time demands. The more children there are in a family, the more often there are unplanned surprises. It is important to recognize the stumbling blocks to permanent overload and to clear them out of the way.

To get on the track of an overload, it is worth taking stock of everyday family life:

  • What all must be considered and done in a week or a month?
  • Who in the family does what tasks?
  • Are the children involved, for example, in the housework or the older children in the care of younger siblings?
  • Are the tasks fairly distributed?
  • What extra-familial support can be relied on?

Even if it takes time, write down the requirements best. It is amazing how many tasks are done daily "quite incidentally". An inventory helps to initiate necessary changes.

Out of the stress trap: suggestions for mothers and fathers

There are no patent remedies. But perhaps the following tips will give you some ideas on how you can bring more peace and contentment back into your everyday family life:

Reveals hidden text for non-screen reader users. Screen readers read full text automatically.
  • Making the load visible
    Talk openly in the partnership about which points are particularly difficult. Single parents should look for familiar contact persons among friends or family.
  • Delegate and get support
    Distribute tasks fairly in the partnership and among the siblings. Think about who can take certain things off your hands and relieve you. It is important to accept support from family and friends or to seek professional help.
  • Let go
    Say goodbye to perfectionism. Not everything has to be perfect all the time: be it in the household or when organizing a child's birthday party.
  • Consciously taking time
    Allow yourself regular small time-outs in which, for example, the older children occupy themselves with the smaller ones. This can be a walk in the evening, a conversation with a friend, a short yoga session or another hobby where you can relax and recharge your batteries.
  • Set boundaries
    Learn to say "no" when invitations, visits and other appointments become too much for you and use the time for rest breaks instead.
  • Nurture positive thoughts
    It can be helpful to cultivate positive thoughts and consciously focus on the beautiful moments with their children and experiences as parents.
  • Find a healthy balance
    Even if your family's daily routine is scheduled, make sure you have a good balance between work, family and leisure time with enough sleep, healthy food and exercise.
  • Get encouragement
    Sometimes it is easier to look at your own situation with an outside person and thus find new ways. You can find professional help at the parent and family counseling centers in NRW.
  • Rejoice in your successes
    It doesn't have to be a complete turnaround. Even small changes can make a big difference.

These tips can help increase your resilience and resistance and prevent burnout. If you still see signs of burnout, don't be afraid to seek professional help.

Where can we find help and advice?

Many health insurance companies offer tips and preventive measures to counteract stress in everyday life. Ask your health insurance company whether there are suitable offers and measures.

If you want professional help: You can find a free counseling guide to find counseling centers in your area through the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Jugend- und Eheberatung e.V. (dajeb).

Approach points with contact details of free counseling centers for families in difficult situations can be found on the page of the Ministry of Family Affairs NRW.

Churches also offer free and anonymous counseling for parents in difficult situations. About the page of the Diakonie you can find out where from the Protestant church in your area is an offer. The Catholic Church also offers online counseling in addition to direct counseling. On the website of Caritas you can choose which form suits you more.

The "Verband kinderreicher Familien e. V." offers information and free consultations, anonymously if desired.

Telephonic direct assistance in the emergency receives you with the Nummer against Kummer free of charge under: 0800 111 0 550. The phone is manned as follows:Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.


A burnout often begins insidiously. Find out in this article on Familienportal.NRW how you can escape the mental load trap.

If you would like to get more ideas for a fair distribution of tasks in the family, there are helpful suggestions under the keyword "Fair partnership" on the Familienportal.NRW.

The publication "Mehrkindfamilien gerecht werden. Bedarfe im Alltag von Familien mit drei und mehr Kindern" by the Bertelsmann Stiftung (2022) is available for download free of charge.


A guide to good conversation in partnership is available for free download on the Familienportal.NRW.