6 Fun Ways to Teach Kids Self-Care
The world is crazy right now and we’ve all been struggling to manage the stress—including our children. It’s been important at my house to find a good balance mentally, emotionally, and physically. Teaching children the practice of self-care should start at a young age. It can help them learn how to deal with stressors as they grow and reduce their risk of developing mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. There are lots of little ways to start introducing self-care into kids’ daily routines. Here’s just a few to start!
1. Practice Yoga
When my kids were really little, the transition to bedtime was a 3-ring circus every night. Getting them to take a moment to calm down and relax was always a challenge, so after snacks and changing into PJs, we would take 10 minutes to read Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story by Mariam Gates. This colorful book walks you through several easy yoga poses and meditations, in a way that helps kids stretch out some excess energy and prepare for sleep. My daughter was always excited to practice her tree pose!
2. Go for a Walk
In the summer, my kids love to go for walks in the park. This is a great opportunity to teach kids about mindfulness, being conscious of the world around them. On the way we’ll talk about the trees and flowers we see or count the rabbits on all the front lawns in the neighborhood. We listen for new bird calls and watch for the signs of changing seasons. A simple walk around the neighborhood can help kids learn the joys of being present.
3. Read a Book
Sometimes self-care is as simple as taking a few minutes for yourself to read a book you love. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees was a favorite in our house. With beautiful illustrations and an adorable story about Gerald the Giraffe who just wants to dance, it’s a great opportunity to have a conversation with your children about embracing what makes you happy, no matter what the world tells you.
4. DIY Spa Day
Once a month, my daughter and I have DIY spa day. We get out our foot baths and mix up a mud mask. We love using the French Green Clay Mask, and she loves to add a little bit of honey, because it smells soooo good! It’s a great opportunity for us to get to spend some down time together, and practice taking moments in life to care for ourselves.
5. Share a Movie Night
Friday nights in our house are movie night, and my kids look forward to picking out something to watch every week. One favorite is Pixar’s Inside Out. With beautiful animation and music, and a fantastic lesson about allowing yourself to feel your feelings, it’s a great opportunity to talk with kids about how they feel, and what they do when they feel upset, angry, or sad. It’s important to learn at a young age how to express emotions in healthy ways, and don’t forget the popcorn!
6. Listen to Music Together
One thing that I have really tried to share with my children is my love of music, and how it can make you feel. We are constantly sharing new music with each other. It’s a great opportunity to open up conversations about the stories told, and the emotions felt. My kids love sharing their music discoveries with me and finding common ground in the music I listen to. Try building a shared playlist with your kids. Include music they learn in school, songs you loved growing up, and fun new music that you can all dance to together!
These may seem like little things, but these practices can help your children develop healthy habits for the future. It will help them become more independent and understand how to take care of themselves to be healthy and happy in the future!