Raising Amazing Kids with a Self-Care Mindset
There is a lot of talk about the importance of self-care for women. But, have you considered the importance of self-care for kids?
Think back to being a kid. In many ways, they are naturally adept at self-care. They are born with joy, play and curiosity as part of who they are.
Self-care encompasses the mental, physical and emotional parts of ourselves. The challenge for parents is to help your kids find healthy ways to manage what’s happening in their heads and hearts.
As a parent, you already teach your children to care for their bodies. Hygiene is a basic human need taught to our kids as part of self-reliance.
Don’t stop there.
Well-being goes beyond health and nutrition. Strengthening them from the inside is also important.
But, how do you do it? This post outlines 9 ways you can help, questions to ask and provides self-care activities your kids will enjoy.
How Do I Teach My Kid Self-Care
The best way to teach the idea of self-care to your kids is to model the behavior yourself.
There’s a common parenting saying, “do as I say, not as I do.” But that really isn’t going to cut it, not in today’s world.
Guess what? Your kids are learning from you every day. They watch how you speak, act and react in life.
In the case of your kids, I recommend applying a show and tell policy. Not only do you need to tell them, you need to show them what you mean.
9 Ways to Teach Kids Self-Care
- Model the Behavior
- Open Communication (Talk & Listen)
- Use Play to Demonstrate Concepts
- ex. Talk about emotions through dolls, puppets or art
- Provide & Encourage Boundaries
- ex. Understanding how to set limitations & say no
- Teach Moderation
- Teach Hygiene
- Provide Healthy Nutrition
- Involve them in the kitchen
- Unplug From Technology
- Do Self-Care Family Activities
- ex. Play together and get outside
Kids are always watching and listening, even when you’ve think they’ve tuned you out. They are little sponges of information, both active and passive.
In Daily Affirmations for Kids, I talk about how words matter. What you say matters. The goal is to help your kids understand that their internal voice is just as important as their external one. Maybe even more so.
Kids are full of emotions and hormones and all kinds of thoughts. As their bodies grow, their minds are working hard to make sense of the world around them and how they fit in.
That whole process can impact their behavior, affecting what they think, how they act and what they feel. This is where you step in and provide guidance, support and understanding.
Talk to them. Help them to know they are not alone. Give them ways to work through what’s happening in their lives. When you’re kids are emotional, ask why? Why do they feel that way? What happened? Get them to look deeper.
Self-Care Tips for Kids
Kids are in the thick of trying to navigate their own feelings along with the expectations of parents, teachers and friends. Helping them to understand their limitations will help them make positive choices.
It may not seem like it all the time, but kids, especially little ones, are people pleasers. The idea of disappointing someone they love and care for is stressful. If left unchecked, that thinking can fester as they get older.
Unresolved thoughts and feelings can be damaging. It’s one way that fear and anxiety can set in.
Encourage older kids to journal as a way for them to get their feelings out. Keeping your feelings bottled up can be overwhelming. So old or young, get them to talk.
Playtime is a natural way that kids express themselves, relax and have fun. Through play, parents have an opportunity to introduce other concepts of self-care.
- What are you feeling?
- Why do you feel that way?
- Do you need help?
- How can I help you?
- What do you need?
- How can you make it better?
- Why do you think that happened?
- Mistakes Happen
- It’s Okay to Take a Break
- I’m Human and Have Human Needs
- I Need Help
- Frustration is Normal
- My Feelings are Valid
- It’s Okay to Have Boundaries
- I Will Speak Up and Use My Voice
- I Am Doing My Best
- Asking for Help is a Sign of Strength
- I Know My Limits
- I Can’t Be All Things to All People
- It’s Okay to Have Fun
- I Need Some Personal Time/ Downtime
- Let’s Go Have Some Fun
- I Love to Laugh and Play
What is Self-Care for a Child
Self-care is about nurturing your mental, physical and emotional well-being. Kids are in need of this too. Childhood is full of fun and adventure, this is true. But, it is also a time of immense growth, change and learning.
Think beyond hygiene and grooming. While important, creating a holistic approach to well-being is vital. Understanding the importance of balance and moderation is important to share. Helping kids know when to take a break and how to talk about feelings and manage emotion.
Self-care for kids is really no different than it is for adults. Activity choices might differ, but the concept and goal is the same.
Bubble baths look different for kids, but it still falls under the well-being umbrella. They may not be laying back with the glass of wine and candles, but it does fill their spirit (and make a mess).
Help them see and understand themselves, but try not to fix it for them. Help them find their way through while offering support and encouragement along the way.
Self-Care Activities for Kids
Kids are as individual in their interests and desires as are adults. With that in mind, expressing or modeling the concept behind self-care will allow them to find their way.
Spending time together outside as a family is a great self-care activity.
The goal is for them to gain knowledge and confidence within themselves so they can better manage their thoughts, actions and emotions in the world.
Encourage and empower your kids to Try Something New. Introduce them to new opportunities and experiences. Take advantage of their natural curiosity and sense of adventure.
The activities below can be catered to children of all ages. Again, once you relay or impart the concept, there will be an easy activity for your kids to do.
It’s important to take a break from mental exertion. Think of it as regulation. This is why recess is so important.
As noted by the CDC, recess is a way to reduce disruptive behavior in the classroom as well as helping with social emotional behavior with their peers.
Everyone needs a way to unwind. Finding methods to relax and disconnect is also important for kids.
- Board Games
- Puzzles/ Blocks
- Fidget Spinners & Toys
- Art (Coloring, Drawing, Painting)
- Blowing Bubbles
Exercise is good for the mind, body and spirit. Exercise and regular physical movement helps maintain physical health while helping to reduce the likelihood of depression.
- Tai Chi
- Bike Riding
- Running/ Hiking
- Martial Arts
- Jumping Rope
- Hygiene/ Grooming
- Healthy Meals & Snacks
Don’t discount what a fulfilled spirit can do for you and your kids. You may get it from observing your faith and acts that create a sense of peace and purpose within.
- Time Outdoors
- Volunteer Work (Doing for Others)
- Laughing (Telling Jokes, Watching a Funny Movie)
- Listening to Music
- Pet Care
There are many activities that feed the mind, body and spirit. Find some that your kids will enjoy and make it a regular part of their lives. Even your Type A kids need to attend to the other parts of themselves to be whole people.
Final Thoughts on Self-Care for Kids
Hopefully you understand that self-care for kids is just as important for them as it is for you. Help your kids re-define success and strength to be things that uplift and support them as the amazing little people they are.
Finding healthy ways to express frustration and emotion is an important part of navigating through challenging situations in life.
When you’re helping your kids to listen to their bodies and minds, make sure you are exhibiting that behavior yourself. Your role in nurturing their well-being is pivotal. Show them how to love themselves and advocate for their personal needs.
Once they have the tools and resources to understand their thoughts and feelings, they will be more self-assured. That knowledge and strength will carry them through.
What is self-care for kids? It’s taking a break, relaxing, asking for help, knowing your limits. It’s also joy and fun and laughter. In the end, it’s knowing yourself and what you need to be your best self.
Do you kids practice self-care? What activities do they do for themselves? Share your ideas in the comments.
2 thoughts on “Self-Care for Kids”
I think all kids should be reminded of the importance of self-care! I still need to be reminded and I’m a 30-year-old woman. And that’s all down to the fact I grew up being pushed in every aspect of my life. To relax was lazy, when in fact it’s necessary.
You’re so right. I think parents can fall prey to focusing too hard on achievement. Parents and adults in general can focus too much on all the wrong things. There’s a reason why there’s a rest day when building muscle. Our minds and bodies need time for recovery so we can be our best selves. Logical, but still, somehow a hard lesson to learn. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment.