In a time where there are a lot of unknowns, and when feelings of stress and uncertainty can interfere with our daily routines, there is no better time than now to practice self-care.
As a parent, one of the biggest lessons of parenthood is understanding that in order to be the best version of yourself for your children, you have to ensure that you are taking care of yourself. But how do we teach our children about self-care so that they too can create healthy habits that will guide them well beyond the present?
A child’s ability to practice self-care is important as it can help them identify their own physical needs, take care of themselves, and in return develop a stronger sense of self and independence. So the next time your kids ask you to do something for them, instead of taking over, give them the chance to accomplish the task on their own. When we constantly do everything for our children, they aren’t taught to think independently, problem-solve, or assess their own needs. Don’t forget to offer some encouraging words like, “I believe in you. You can do this! First, try it by yourself and if you get stuck, I am here to help.”
To quote a favorite childhood book, Half a Giraffe, “Stand up and be proud of the body you’re given. It’s a wonderful place only YOU get to live in.” Our own physical health is one of the more important parts of self-care. Encourage healthy habits for your child by getting their hearts beating with some fresh air and exercise. Who’s up for a game of tag? Try a long walk or practice deep breathing with them.
And don’t forget to empower them by showing them how to take care of their own bodies by washing their hands, dressing and undressing by themselves, brushing their teeth and hair, and encouraging them to help with meal preparation. More than likely, you are already instilling many of these habits, but do take a moment to acknowledge them out loud, thereby helping your kids realize the habits’ importance.
Our lives are so busy and full, we often don’t have time to just … think. Make sure that you provide yourself and your child a moment to slow down each day. Create a routine that your whole family follows, such as a specific time where everyone is device-free and is either reading, drawing, or simply having some time to be by themselves. Even boredom is a valuable part of the creative thinking process according to Manoush Zomorodi’s book, Bored and Brilliant.
By teaching children to regularly take care of themselves, they will be able to develop the skills to manage future stressors in their lives in healthy and effective ways. They will be able to problem-solve more effectively when it comes to self-regulating, self-soothing and self-managing. And don’t forget, modeling healthy lifestyle choices will go a long way for you and for them!
Brisa Ayub is the Senior Global Director of Marketing at Wonder Workshop where she creates educational programs directed at bringing coding, robotics, and creative problem-solving to educators and students. She has a history of creating educational content and award-winning programs and games that have been implemented in schools across the United States and globally as the former Director of Educational Programs at Common Sense Media. Brisa earned her graduate degree in psychology and has worked with adolescents and young adults around addictive behaviors prior to the edtech space.