Celeste Mendelsohn

Self-Care: Grooming Your Child to Be Happy and Capable from the Get-Go – by Anya Willis

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Self-care is an indispensable life skill, something every parent needs to teach their child. Children are sensitive, impressionable, lack maturity, and are often faced with many external pressures even at a young age. With self-care, they can learn how to be happy and healthy, and develop the self-confidence necessary to overcome obstacles on their way to adulthood (and beyond).

Keep in mind that self-care is a lifestyle more than an activity or a habit. It’s not something you kids will pick up in a day. Introduce the concept early and make it a part of their routine to make it stick as they grow up. 

Self-care for the early years

Elementary and middle schoolers can’t grasp advanced concepts like gratitude and positive thinking. Start simple and focus on the basics of self-care. You’ll be building a foundation for them. Below are some examples:

  • Tidying up
  • Dressing appropriately  
  • Hygiene basics like brushing teeth
  • Eating greens
  • Social skills like greetings and thank you’s
  • Games and fun activities like drawing

Over time, you can introduce other aspects of self-care. They can be categorized as caring for the body, mind, and heart (or emotional wellbeing).

Self-care for the body

Physical activity will help your child throughout life, as Parents magazine can confirm. Here are some ways to encourage your child to look after their physical health:

  • Picking up a sport like swimming or football
  • Playing outside with other kids
  • Taking walks in nature
  • Picking up a physical hobby like gardening
  • Nutrition and eating balanced meals
  • Body positivity

Self-care for the mind

As they say, your life is as your thoughts make it. They influence your habits, which influence your actions, which make your life. Here are some mental health suggestions for your kids:

  • Practicing positive thinking and optimism
  • Meditation and breathing exercises
  • Reading wholesome content
  • Having an open mind
  • Mental exercises like puzzles and crosswords

Self-care for the heart

Finally, teach your kids to look after their emotional well-being. Ignoring or neglecting emotions can hobble your child’s growth:

  • Having healthy boundaries
  • Learning how to say no
  • Listening to music
  • Learning about emotional triggers
  • Accepting and giving compliments

Self-care begins with you

Every child is different and has different learning preferences, but they all have one thing in common – they look up to their parents and want to be like them. As The Center for Parenting puts it, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Your child will grow up to mimic your behavior, attitudes, and beliefs. 

That’s why, if you’d like your child to practice self-care, you need to practice it yourself and model it for them. Essentially, when you make your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing a priority and practice a healthy lifestyle, you can expect your child to follow suit. 

Watch your stress levels and avoid burnout

Kids are sponges, and they will quickly absorb your mental and emotional state. If you’re always stressed around your kids, they will pick up on it and make it a part of themselves. You may end up unintentionally sabotaging their self-care practice. Again, you need to practice self-care for everyone’s sake. Request extra time off from work, learn how to say no, and achieve a healthy life balance.  

What if you’re a business owner overburdened with responsibilities? You can still avoid burnout by taking positive action, which includes learning how to make efficient use of your time. Limit distractions, delegate tasks, and prioritize to tackle important tasks in the morning to reduce stress. Focus on the bigger picture – which is your family’s well-being.

Conclusion

According to a UPI report, few teens have the life skills necessary to “adult”. Some struggle even with the most basic of things – like not knowing they’re supposed to visit a drug store when they get sick! If you want your child to be capable and self-reliant, teach them self-care. It’s the greatest gift you can give them.

Visit Childhood Trauma Coaching to sign up for workshops that can help you refocus and heal your mind, body, and spirit.

Image via Unsplash