Self-Care Tips for KidsAmber Brandt
Over the past few years (and especially since the beginning of the pandemic), many people have become more comfortable talking about mental health and the importance of creating daily rhythms and self-care. Creating space to care for our minds and bodies is an essential part of staying healthy and happy.
What is self-care?
Unfortunately, many incorrectly view “self-care” as synonymous with winding down – taking a bubble bath or having a nightcap – rather than finding healthy, constructive ways to reduce stress, experience mental clarity, or create connections with those you love. (Good self-care could be taking a bath, but it’s not the only thing!)
It’s also often emphasized as a practice for adults, but kids need it too. Self-care is for everyone. Let’s explore activities and strategies that could accurately be defined as self-care for anyone, then explore some options unique to your child’s health and wellbeing.
How to practice
Self-care activities support your wellbeing and help you sustain positivity within the following categories:
- Workplace or professional. Examples: Peer-support groups, establishing healthy boundaries between clients/staff/leadership/employees, and attending professional development programs or reading professional journals and learning materials associated to your field.
- Psychological. Examples: Journaling, engaging in a hobby, therapy, unplugging from work/email/phone outside of work hours, relaxation, and setting aside time with friends and family you enjoy.
- Emotional. Examples: Talk with a trustworthy source about coping with life and its demands, do something you enjoy, connect meaningfully with others, and move your body to complete the stress cycle.
- Physical. Examples: Aiming for a healthy diet, good sleep routine, taking frequent breaks, interacting with an animal, using your PTO, and doing physical exercise.
- Spiritual. Examples: Attending church/mosque/temple and engaging in practices like prayer or meditation. Talk to a spiritual leader. Read inspirational materials.
- Relational. Examples: Prioritizing close relationships or attending events or activities with those you enjoy.
Self-Care Ideas for Kids
When it comes to your kids, it’s important to start with the fundamentals. Brushing their teeth, choosing healthy snacks, and setting aside devices for physical activities are all self-care practices they’ve probably already experienced today! Here are a few other ideas:
- Walk around the neighborhood.
- Read for fun.
- Have a dance party.
- Play a game around the dinner table.
- Stick to a normal bedtime routine.
- Drink water.
- Practice mindfulness and stretching.
- Take a bath.
- Reflect on things you’re grateful for.
- Call or text a friend.
- Help with dinner preparation.
- Pack their own lunch.
- Go for a family bike ride.
- Bake cookies.
- Draw or paint.
- Build a fort.
Anything that brings a sense of calm, centeredness, relaxation, rest, or enjoyment is a good gateway into self-care. When we think about cultivating health in every area of our lives, and finding practices to support that, it will contribute to a more well-rounded life and give us healthier rhythms to practice every day.