We’ve been hearing a lot about self-care the last few years, but there is a lot of rhetoric that “kids are more resilient” so it can be easy to forget that if an adult in a child’s life doesn’t teach them about self-care, it would be easy for a child to become an adult who doesn’t know how to engage in self-care. Let’s start them early!
The most important thing to remember is that everyone experiences self-care differently! Just because you love a bubble bath to wind down, your child might not feel the same. Ask them what makes them feel calm, happy, loved, cozy, and refreshed. Of course, you can make suggestions, but don’t be surprised if it’s something you wouldn’t have thought of.
Help your child figure out if they are an introvert or an extrovert. This simply means that they either gain energy from being alone or from being around people. Recommending a game night for an introverted kid isn’t necessarily going to help them relax, even if they’re having fun! And this might also be dependent on if they’re wishing they had more one-on-one time with you or they want to decompress alone after a long day at school. Self-care can look different each time you practice it!
Having trouble coming up with ideas? They could make a pillow fort and watch movies all day, read their favorite comic book, or take a nap out in the warm breeze. Why not go for a bike ride together, make collages with your old magazines, or cuddle together under a fuzzy blanket? Try telling each other the silliest jokes you know, baking a sweet treat, or doing face masks. Go shopping for a fun accessory, have a dance party, or just sit down with a few prompts and have a nice conversation.
Don’t forget about yourself! One of the best ways to drive home the importance of practicing self-care is to do it yourself! If your child witnesses you hustling without being gentle on yourself, they will feel they need to do that, too. Be kind to yourself, and your kids will learn to be kind to themselves.
Do you engage in self-care with your children? If so, what are your favorite ways to do it? Share your ideas so we can all be a little happier and healthier!
Originally featured on Kivity.com 3/29/2022