Children, just like adults, benefit greatly from consistent and deliberate self-care activities. Even if they are not currently stressed or upset, teaching kids to regularly take care of themselves will help ensure that they have the skills to manage future stressors in healthy and effective ways. Doing self-care activities together not only helps your child to cultivate good habits, but it also helps your mind and body operate at its best—exactly the foundation you need to be the best parent and partner you can be!
Take care of your body. One of the most important aspects of self-care is taking care of your physical health. When it comes to teaching kids to maintain physical health, there are a lot of ways to encourage good habits. You can exercise together, including shooting hoops at the park or playing catch in the backyard. You can also participate in activities that help to de-stress like deep breathing, meditation, or going for a long walk.
Have fun together. Sometimes we just need to take a break from the everyday stress of daily life, and research shows that laughter is the best medicine to relieve stress. Play a funny game like Mad Libs, bake cookies together, draw with sidewalk chalk, or build a couch fort.
Enjoy the outdoors. Getting outside with your kids not only provides sunlight and fresh air, but it also shows them how, when you might be stressed, and in need of some self-care, a change of environment can be calming and help you find a sense of balance. Go to the park, take a hike, or complete homework together in the backyard. Take a few moments to lay in the grass and look up at the clouds and ask your kids what they see.
Help others or volunteer in your community. It feels good to do good, and it provides long-term health benefits! Plus, teaching your kids the value of kindness is an important life lesson. Try volunteering at a local charity, ask your kids to pick old clothes of theirs to donate, or help at a homeless shelter. Ask your kids how it makes them feel about spending their time and energy helping others.
Decide what works for you and your kids. Once in a while, sit down with your kids and brainstorm everyday activities that encourage self-care. If you like going for a run in the park, but your kids would rather ride their bikes, you can do both. If you do something together that they don’t enjoy, then try something else. It could be a game night on Fridays, family hikes on Saturday mornings, or cooking together on Sundays—what matters is that it’s consistent and involves quality time together!