How Parents Can Encourage Self-Care for Kids
It's easy to think that self-care is a practice for busy adults. However, children deal with the stresses of everyday life as well. Kids are often unable or unwilling to express feelings of exhaustion or frustration in ways that parents can understand. As a parent, you can take the initiative to encourage self-care habits that will promote happiness and healthfulness in your children. By following some simple tips, you can help your children reset and refresh for the days ahead.
Be a Role Model
Parenting experts agree that behavior is modeled directly after that of their parents. If your kids see you practicing healthy habits, they will be inclined to join you. On the flip side, children can also learn unhealthy coping mechanisms from their parents. Procrastination, overeating, and passive aggression are all habits that kids might adopt from their role models. Encouraging self-care in children begins with parents who make beneficial choices for themselves.
Promote Healthy Habits
Healthy habits for children give them a chance to relieve stress and refresh their minds. It may be difficult for some kids to find an effective outlet for their feelings. As a parent, you might consider involving your child in any well-being routines you practice for yourself. Nurturing your child's unique hobbies or enrolling them in group activities can be positive solutions as well. A few self-care habits to suggest for your child might include:
- Illustrating art
- Creative writing
- Listening to music
- Exercising or playing outdoors
Shape Your Home Environment for the Better
Your home environment is an important part of the self-care process. A clean and organized area is much more conducive to healing, whereas clutter can cause anxiety. One of the first steps to promoting wellness habits for your children should be to create a positive atmosphere at home to avoid any issues later. Consider installing additional shelves for organized storage or improving the lighting in certain rooms.
Another key point in shaping your home environment is to optimize your child's self-care space. Whether it's your kid's bedroom or another dedicated area of the house, it should be a comfortable zone that facilitates focusing on self-care and leaving outside worries behind. Stock the area with your child's favorite books or games and allow for some "me time" away from distractions.
Take Opportunities to Engage With Your Children
Self-care doesn't always have to be an individual activity. You can involve the whole family in building healthy habits. Try taking an interest in your children's hobbies and get involved if possible. Invite everyone to a family mealtime and set the stage for open conversation. Tackle chores together, but allow it to be a fun team-building exercise rather than a burdensome responsibility. Any method you can find for engaging with your children in a positive way is a possible avenue to better mental health.
Self-care habits that children build in their youth can become the foundation for a positive lifestyle in adulthood. Your parental role in establishing that foundation is instrumental. You are the role model who helps your children learn how to approach difficult situations with a healthy frame of mind. In the course of teaching beneficial habits to the kids in your life, you might just find yourself feeling healthier and refreshed too.
Anya Willis is a yoga instructor and has three children. She is passionate about kids being active and healthy. She created FitKids.info to help parents find fitness alternatives to keep their kids moving.