As adults, we often learn the hard way that we can lead healthier, happier, more productive lives when we prioritize our physical and mental well-being. Life is extraordinarily busy for many of us, and even when it’s not, it can still be stressful. Taking the time to decompress, relax, and regain a healthy perspective can do wonders for helping us function at full capacity.
It’s like that for kids, too. Children are under lots of stress and pressure these days. School, extracurricular activities, homework, family obligations — the list goes on. And parents, caregivers, and teachers are charged with helping them find balance. Here are some fun and effective self-care ideas to teach your child.
Keep Your Stress at Work
Stress is contagious. Even when we try to hide it, it can seep through and change the atmosphere around us into an almost tangible negative space.
If you are stressed at work, it is inevitable that the stress will worm its way into your home and change the routines, behaviors, and moods of you and your children. Be proactive about finding ways to reduce work stress by eating healthy foods, focusing on being present, ditching the perfectionist mentality, and establishing a home/work routine that prioritizes your children.
Start a Family Game Night
Very few things are as important as creating strong bonds within your immediate family. Those bonds will then promote communication, trust, self-esteem, and overall wellness.
Family game nights play an important role in building those bonds. They allow the family to connect regularly in a fun way! Look online for games that are both age-appropriate and require teamwork or friendly competition.
Get a Guided Journal
Journaling is an excellent way to release built-up emotions and to work through thoughts and emotions that are hard to express verbally. It may not come naturally to children to write in a journal independently.
Guided journals are a great way to get your children used to the regular exercise of journaling and communicating in that fashion. You may find that not only are there emotional benefits but also, as EverythingMom points out, your child’s reading and writing skills may improve, their creativity may expand, and they likely will start to become better at expressing themselves.
Encourage Physical Activity
The importance of regular physical activity to the human body is common knowledge, but most people struggle with finding the time or energy to get movement into their daily routines. Build these habits in your children now (you will benefit from this, too) by doing free YouTube exercises, going for weekly hikes, or taking nightly after-dinner walks if you live in a walkable location. The key is to be consistent. You and your children will notice the benefits of increased endorphins and serotonin by experiencing more energy and less stress.
Plant a Garden
Teaching your child to garden now will teach them lifelong skills that will affect their entire being. Not only will it get them much-needed time outdoors, but it will also do the following:
- Teach them basic science skills.
- Show them how to grow their own food.
- Get them physically active without realizing it.
- Improve their mental health by getting vitamin D.
- Spark creativity.
Practice Self-Care Yourself
You are the best role model your children have. They will mimic whatever they see you doing. Make it a top priority to take care of your own physical and mental health and you will see the benefits of them naturally doing the same. Kaiser Permanente advises starting with building the foundational routines in your life (food, fitness, and sleep) and there will be a wellness snowball effect throughout your house.
The industrial age followed by the technological age increased the busyness of lives across the world. At no point in history have humans been more exposed to activity and information. To combat the stresses that come with the hustle and bustle of life, take a proactive approach to prioritize and instill good self-care habits into your children. The ideas above can get you off to a wonderful start, but keep looking for other routines and habits that your children can personally benefit from to reduce stress and increase overall wellness.
Visit BRE HEALTHY for tips and resources on health, cooking, and wholesome living!
Written by Cassidy Gibson-Cooper, blog contributor and founder of parenting-central.com