11 Ways to teach your kids Self-Care
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Being a kid is tough! There are so many new experiences that aren’t only exciting, but pretty stressful too. Emotions are always running high, whether good or bad, and the world can be a scary place. Then there’s puberty, which takes stress for a kid to a whole new level!
Through all of the changes and unknowns growing up, it’s important that we, as parents, show and teach them how to manage the stress in their lives properly. Having the ability to gracefully work through difficult situations will be valuable tools they can not only use as a kid, but throughout life.
Self-Care is Important for Everyone
First and foremost, it starts with you, the parent, setting a good example is key. Learn how to care for your wellbeing by not letting yourself get overly stressed or lose control of your emotions. Being able to recognize when it’s time to put yourself first and take a break will not only help your mental wellness, but will create more calmness in the family. Here are a few simple self-care techniques to help your kids work through their emotions…
11 Self-Care Techniques for Kids
Breath awareness. Kids need to be aware of their breath. When kids are tense, or anyone for that matter, they tend to hold their breath. There’s a natural release and cleansing process that happens with deep, intentional breathing. Teach them to recognize when they’re tense and feeling stressed, and to stop and take a minute to close their eyes and breathe deeply. This skill will be super beneficial now and in the future!
Stretching. Growing kids have more aches and pains then we realize. Think about how quickly their little bodies change and grow. One minute we’re holding them in our arms, the next they’re off to college! Their bodies need to stretch out the pain. Teach them to stretch when they wake, throughout the day, and before bed, it will help them feel better, sleep better, and hopefully grow with less aches and pains.
Hydration. All bodies are made up of mostly water, without it no one can function properly. It’s important for health on all levels, it keeps the brain, muscles, and digestive track all working properly.
Unfortunately, most kids walk around constantly dehydrated. They need about an ounce of fluid of water per body pound of body weight each day. Do whatever it takes to encourage them to drink up! Let them choose a “cool” water bottle for school and sporting events, some kids like to add stickers or art, make it fun!
Nutrition. It’s no secret that when we eat well, we feel well. Help your children make good healthy food choices. Stock up on healthy snacks and pack them plenty of fruits and veggies for lunch. If they’re hungry enough, they’ll eat them. When you don’t buy or pack foods that are highly processed or full of sugars, they don’t have a choice but to eat healthy.
If they aren’t eating the healthiest right now, I do however, recommend slowly transitioning to a healthier diet, usually you’re met with less resistance that way!
Play. I can’t say it enough, start early and teach your kids to be active. Set a good example by being active yourself. Better yet, find an activity you all like doing together, like riding bikes, tennis, running. This is another lifelong skill that is vital for their overall health and wellbeing. The best way to de-stress, in my opinion is to go for a run. Physical activity releases feel-good endorphins that improve the way they feel almost instantaneously.
Sleep. A good sleep routine from the very start of childhood can teach kids to be good sleepers for life! Set a bedtime and stick to it. Most kids need 9-12 hours of sleep a night. Sounds crazy, I know, but they’re growing quickly and while they’re sleeping, their muscles and brain grow, regenerate, and repair.
Alone Time. We often underestimate the importance of having time alone. As a parent it’s easy to worry when your child withdrawals from the family and just wants to be alone in their room. This is actually good for them, as long as they’re without screens. This time allows kids to work through some of the thoughts in their head, get creative, use their imaginations, perhaps writing, drawing, or reading. Time alone can give the mind a mental reset especially for introverted type children.
Time away from screens. Screens! My enemy! Well not totally, as I do the majority of my work in front of screens, but for my kids, yes. As they’ve gotten older they’ve become more and more apt to entertain themselves with screens. I hate nagging because they’re pretty good kids, but I miss the days of blocks and play dough and always using their imaginations.
It’s so good for them to take a day off here and there, I know it’s hard with a lot of homework now requiring the computer, but try and mandate a couple screen free days a month, and limit their time spent in front of a screen each day. My post on screen time may give you a few ideas on how to incorporate a play time = screen time rule in your home.
Encourage them to find a hobby or activity they love. Having a hobby or something they love to do is a great way to get their mind off of everyday stressors. Being part of a team, or having a creative outlet gives them the opportunity to express who they really are or may not be able to express with words.
Music. Listening to music has been proven to relieve stress. Dancing to the music, even better. Playing a musical instrument, WOW! So encourage them play, dance, or turn up the tunes and allow the mind and body feel the stress drift away!
Essential Oils. Last but certainly not least. Using essential oils for your child’s self-care routine is super beneficial in so many ways. The simple act of breathing in an essential oil can give them a sense of calmness.
Try using oils like lavender and lemongrass, both are great for kids. My son’s favorite is Cedarwood, it’s a very grounding oil. And if you’re into blends, DoTerra makes an entire kids collection of specialty blends made just for kids. Also, a family favorite of ours is a blend called Balance it’s a beautiful, grounding blend great for everyone.
Check out my list of budget friendly oils to find the oils right for you and your family.
So there you have it! 11 simple self-care techniques to teach your children. If they don’t thank you now, believe me they will thank you later in life when they realize that these skills are used in everyday life, throughout life!