We talk about Self-Care for busy adults. Moms, dads, and even college students are often encouraged to stop, breathe, and do something nice for themselves. But, do the youngest members of your family have a self-care routine in place? If not, they should, and it is up to you to model healthy behaviors so that your children can learn how to handle stress before it becomes a burden they cannot bear.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is really just a catch-all term for the things we do to keep ourselves healthy and happy. Self-care actions can be elaborate, such as a full body massage. But it can also include everyday details, such as getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods.
You Are The Model Of Healthy Behaviors
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to model behaviors that you would like your children to mimic. Kids see what we do, and they will follow your bad habits as well as your good ones. A few ways that you can actively show your children simple ways to take care of themselves by caring for yourself include:
- Keep the house clean. A clean and tidy home will have positive energy, and that energy will translate into happier and healthier family members. Wake up each morning, make the bed, and assign everyone chores. Getting ahead of things that create negativity will keep everyone in your family in high spirits.
- Set time boundaries. If you work from home, as many parents do nowadays, you already know how stressful it can be when you have children. But, you can care for yourself by setting a schedule and enforcing rules that you are not bothered about during these hours (outside of an emergency, obviously). Having good time management behaviors and practices can also help prevent you from burning out over work. Remember to take breaks every so often. And make sure the kids know that you’re there for them if they need you, but remind them that when you get your work done on time, then you are free for family time.
- Don’t overindulge. Let’s face it, when you have kids, you want to eat the cake and you want to drink the drinks. Let yourself, but do so in moderation. According to Consumer Reports, most women can safely drink one alcoholic beverage each day without doing harm. This might be just enough to help you relax and unwind, and the kids can see you enjoy yourself responsibly.
- Step outside. One behavior to model that your kids can join in with is taking regular walks outside. Walking is a great way to get some exercise and experience nature, and a Walk Score map can help. At a glance, you can easily determine what nearby areas are the best spots to walk. You and your kids can have a great time walking together.
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Self-Care, Kid Style
Children need their own style of self-care, and, even if you showcase positive behaviors, you have to step aside and let the littles do what feels right to them. A few suggestions to help get them started:
- Dancing has a lot of benefits, and for toddlers. Not only can it improve socialization skills and keep you fit, but dancing can also introduce children to new cultures.
- Practicing gratitude. Remind your children to be thankful for all that they have instead of regretful for the things they do not.
- Your children don’t have to be the next Picasso to experience the positive side-effects of drawing. In fact, Neuroscience News promotes the benefits of drawing, explaining that it can boost your mood and reduce anxiety.
- Playing actively. Active play keeps children moving, and exercise is crucial to a healthy body at all ages. Invest in balls, bats, skates, and other active toys so that your kids will enjoy their sweat sessions.
- Writing down their emotions. Journaling is not just for teenage girls wanting to write down their secret crushes. In fact, writing out their feelings is a great way for children to handle emotionally difficult times. Being in touch with their feelings now will help your children better express themselves into adulthood.
Self-care isn’t just for adults. Kids, too, deserve to treat themselves well. Remember, monkey see, monkey do, so take care of yourself, and then help your children find ways that they can keep their own minds and bodies happy and healthy.