When we think about self-care, we often picture an adult walking, getting a massage or taking a vacation. It Is important for adults to take care of themselves to better their emotional, mental and physical health. Just as adults need this break, children do too. Children might not have as stressful situations at school as adults do at their work but circumstances affecting parents can impact the child. If a family is going through a loss, a divorce or any other difficult situation, children become aware of this and they may not be able to understand what they are feeling. Teaching your children about self-care at a young age helps them learn it’s important to prioritize mental, emotional and physical well-being. Here are a few ways to introduce self-care practices with your children:
There are many fun ways children can be active while helping them destress. For younger children, you can walk, go to the park, play a sport or do yoga. Yoga is one of my favorite exercises for children to do, as a certified children’s yoga instructor, I saw how much fun they had. There are many books for yoga at the local libraries or grocery stores. They provide poses with different animals. You may also look kid’s yoga videos on Youtube for more fun ideas!
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It's Okay to Talk About Emotions
Learning about our emotions and identifying them is important to do since a young age. There are many adults who struggle to manage their emotions and how they react to them. If your child is having a difficult time, sit down with them and talk about what is going on. There are many emotion charts you may download and print or pull up on a device. Sit down and take time to explore the different emotions and label them. Also, you may have a stress ball or a stuffed animal, any object that will help your child self soothe.
Children are very active and some are more extroverted, but even the most extroverted children need a break. Try to incorporate into the daily routine some quiet activities such as reading a book, coloring, laying down with a sound machine or have independent quiet playtime. This can be done in small amounts of ten minutes and that will allow the child to calm their bodies.
Sometimes all we need to do is take a breath. Lay down or sit down with your child and practice belly breathing or just inhaling and exhaling 3 times. This will help them reset and continue with their activities. There are many books with breathing exercises, I recommend “Breathe like a Bear” by Kira Willey. It provides many exercises on breathing and practicing mindfulness.