Self-care is important for both adults and children and highlights the need to find the time to do things that will refuel and reboot us. It leads to improvement in our physical, emotional, and mental health. Self-care is particularly important during our current period, with tightening of restrictions put in place again, it’s integral for us to find ways to improve our mood and reduce our stress. Whilst typically self-care for our children is supported by parents or guardians, it’s important to work with them to ensure they find their own independence to work on their own self-care routine in the future. It’s up to parents or guardians to teach their children how to prioritise their mental and physical health, especially during uncertain times.
Below is a list of ideas you can do with your children to start practising self-care routines. The earlier your child learns self-care, the more likely they are to maintain those good habits into adulthood.
Begin with basic self-care tasks such as brushing your teeth or having a bath. These self-care tasks may seem small, but it is important to start somewhere. As they get older, you and your child will add more to the list together to help your children handle whatever life throws at them.
Find a self-care habit your child can get excited about
Whether that be painting, basketball or even journaling. Put aside time to complete an activity that they can do on their own accord, as it encourages independence as well as stimulates both their mind and body.
Focus on sleep
Sleep is one of the most crucial ingredients for learning, performance, and mental health. It’s therefore an excellent self-care activity, and looking after yourself starts with a good sleep. This means having a consistent and early bedtime.
Nourish their mind
Make sure your children have time away from their screens or toys and put aside a moment in the day to focus on mindfulness. Mindfulness improves attention, self-regulation and develops important life skills and qualities including empathy, kindness, wellbeing, and generosity. Mindfulness can occur through breathing exercises, taking a walk, coming up with a positive mission statement and repeating it, talking about gratitude, and embracing feelings of all kind.
Challenge the body
Exercising with the intention of taking care of the physical mind and body is a great way to practice self-care. Not only does it have many benefits for your child’s physical development, but it also helps with their emotional wellbeing. Exercise enhances children’s self-esteem, increases concentration, boosts energy levels and fosters feelings of happiness. These are just some of the reasons exercising is a great activity for self-care.
Make downtime a priority
Sometimes the best self-care is to stop altogether and have some quiet time. Having some ‘me-time’ on their own can provide your child with some time to rest their mind. This can be done by reading a book or even having a short nap.
Foster social skills
An important part of self-care is being social. Involving them within sporting teams or other social clubs and groups is a great way for them to feel a sense of belonging within their community. This will provide them a place to go, something to do and someone to help.