Children Need Self-Care, too!

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It is true. I must admit that it has been refreshing to see moms get a little selfish and prioritize themselves. Since childhood, most of us have been taught to overshare ourselves with the world, and those same teachings usually get passed down to our children. So, I completely support this self-care/self-love movement; like “Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch” support.

Self-care. Self-care. Self-care. What is self-care? In short-term, self-care is any activity that allows you to function at your best: mentally, emotionally, or physically It is also about reducing stress and/or anxiety.

But what about our kids? What about their self-care?

We know how to remedy our daily stresses, but do our children? Are we teaching them the necessary self-care skills to move throughout life? Probably not. We’re teaching them to share, play nice, be kind, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that, except we’re not teaching boundaries. Self-care is essentially creating and acting on boundaries for yourself. Children need to know that is okay not to want to share and not feel any guilt about it. They need to know it is okay to not want to play with others and how to enjoy solitude. They need to know that it is okay to communicate when someone has entered their personal space. They need to know if they create and communicate their boundaries, we will enforce it and not be dismissive.

Photographer: Jarvis Hughes

As a proud advocate and participant of self-care, self-care runs wild in my home. Aria and Drew have very different ways of conquering the day:

Aria’s Self-Care

Drawing
Solitude
Tumbling
Netflix

Drew’s Self-Care

A bath
Snacks
Cuddling with Mom
Dancing

In addition to them helping them figure out what works for them, I  also provide other activities that we can do as a family or one-on-one.

Self-Care Activities:

Get OUTDOORS
Whether it’s the park or going for a walk, sunlight is beneficial and an instant mood booster. Being in an open space with fresh air can quickly eliminate any noise that may be causing stress, and sometimes a change of scenery is necessary to find the calm.

TREAT yourself
How many times does your child ask for a snack? Plenty, I’m sure. Have a snack together. Go out for a little treat-ice cream, yogurt, candy, or whatever. Sometimes the “bad stuff” is the good stuff for your child’s spirit. For once, don’t search for the labels and get caught up in the reading the ingredients (I am guilty of this btw).

Get ACTIVE
Exercise as a family. I have found that squats and jumping jacks are Aria and Hayes’ favorite exercises. Take on yoga! Children find the poses to be silly, a guaranteed good-time. A family that sweats together, stays together.

Find the FUN
What does your family enjoy? DO THAT! Water balloon fights, art, movies, cooking, there is so much to do. With summer officially here, my family’s go-to is Rocket Copters and Jerry’s.

TALK it out
I’m not sure how many families still eat together, but it is a MUST in my home. This is our chance to talk about whatever; nothing is off limits. It’s our open space to have healthy dialogue without scolding, judgement, or shouting. Also, we have random moments throughout the day, where we ask, “How are you?” “How are you feeling?” “How was your day?”

Create SPACE
Aria and Hayes communicate when they prefer to play alone. I make sure that we honor and respect their solitude. We become the other’s playmate when the other doesn’t want to be bothered. I find it impressive that at an early age they can enjoy their own solitude. Space isn’t limited to playing; space covers all personal space. I know that as adults we’ve become accustomed to interacting with others right away, but children are not always up to speaking or initiating conversation with adults or other children, and we need to respect that. We should not make children uncomfortable just so that they can be seen as respectful by other adults. We must honor and respect our children’s space.

Being consistent with these self-care activities and more will help your child create healthy self-care skills. We all know that children do as we do rather than do as we say, so implement your own routines/activities and communicate what and why you are doing so. Since most parents like to fact check and only accept advice from a licensed professional, check out this article about the Healthy Habits of Self-Care for Children.

Join the movement, and play “Follow the Leader” with Self-care!

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