You love your children and you want to spend time with them but let's get real - doing just that takes a lot of energy and patience. With a busy work life, errands to run plus an extremely long to-do list, it usually means you're tired most days before the kids even get home from school.

So how do you overcome the exhaustion that seems to accompany every day? You could give up and just be cranky with your children ... but that won't make you happier, nor will it build your relationship with your children. There's always the "fake it till you make it" strategy, but it's tough to fake energy. What you really need are a couple of tips that will really enable you to be energized and enjoy the time with your children.

Here are four tips to help energize yourself before you spend time with your kids.

1. Make time to breath

Leave a bit early to pick up your kids and take those spare minutes to reflect, meditate and concentrate on your breathing. Breathing exercises will help your blood-oxygen levels increase, giving you more energy.

On FitBit's blog, author Patrick McKeown points out that when not enough oxygen is released, your tissues and organs (including your brain) feel sluggish. You can combat this by breathing properly. He outlines tips on how to take a breathing break, which include sitting up straight, placing your hand on your stomach and monitoring your breathing. Get the full instructions here.

2. Make a list of things you're grateful for

Sometimes you need a little reminder about all the good things that are happening in your life before your children voice their wants, needs and complaints. Focusing on the positive energy in your life can help outweight any negative energy that may be weighing you down.

Writing things that you are grateful for will also help give you a broader perspective about life and remind you what's really important. Yes, you might be exhausted but hopefully a little gratitude will help you realize that you have a lot to live for, and that you're tired in the best way possible.

3. Take a walk

Exercise always helps get your blood pumping and your energy up. Even a 10 minute walk between work and picking the kids up can help you reset and be ready for the kids to be home.

If you have an office job or a position where you spend a lot of your day sitting, walking will be especially helpful. If you are on your feet all day, maybe sit in your car for a couple extra minutes. Taking a 10 minute nap can also give you the same reset as a quick walk.

4. Plan what you are going to do

Sometimes we feel overwhelmed before the kiddos even get home, then those feelings are compounded when they run through the door. But if you already have a plan in place of what the kids are going to do to stay busy, what you are going to have for dinner and how you are going to relax that night, your evening will immediately feel more manageable.

I love this advice because I'm not a planner, but every time I plan my evening out (including time to watch an episode or two of my favorite TV show), I feel more energized when I cross something off and I also sleep better at night, knowing that I've had a successful evening.

We all have busy lives, full of things that zap our energy. Luckily, these simple ways to gain a little more energy can help us all have more patience for our children so we can refocus on spending quality time together.

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