I firmly believe that one must practice what they preach! And so, teaching children to take good care of them can only be successful if you as the adult do exactly the same thing.
I would strongly suggest doing self-care activities together. This will help your child to cultivate good self-care habits, whilst enabling both your mind and body to function at its optimum – a foundation needed to enable you to be the best parent possible.
Nothing here needs to be time consuming, expensive or out of this world! Taking part in self-care activities with your children, I feel, needs to be practiced frequently and with consistency. It will take conscious effort on your part and your children. It may feel like a chore at times, or even a prison sentence, but with time it will become a ‘habit’ and an everyday ritual for you and your children.
Why take part with your children?
Self-care activities that are good will have the long-term impact that is positive, opposed to giving an immediate sense of reward. Support the wellbeing of your children by engaging in activities with them that will aim to make them healthier individuals, to encourage their growth, and to enable them to make more meaningful choices by following your lead.
What are the types of care?
Teaching kids to maintain their physical health is all part of self-care. You can do this by encouraging good ‘physical’ habits. A good idea would be to exercise with them, in a variety of fun ways. Perhaps playing catch in the park, or doing some exercise together would be a good place to start. Choosing to do de-stressing activities together, such as yoga, swimming or a walk would help you to develop good self-care practices with your kids. In essence it would be a good idea to engage with a regular routine of physical self-care to enable you all to keep balanced physically.
Distract self from the ‘stress’ factors in life. Plan some fun together with your children to teach them how to be ‘playful’ and not to take life so serious. This can be as simple as baking cookies, laughing out loud at something funny that has been said, or even having a random pillow fight. Laughter is proven to lower stress levels. It is a fantastic way to connect with your child. You can take the time to find out what activities your child really enjoys, and therefore help them to learn how to take care of themselves in their later lives.
There are other ways to help to keep your mental health in balance by teaching your children, such as:
- Getting outside
- Volunteering within your community – helping an older person to get through the supermarket door, or across a road for example.
Teach your children the importance of gratitude – to be thankful for all they have on a basic level and for what they have, and the good that others show towards them. Ensuring that they write ‘thank you’ letters, from an early age, will teach them to be both thankful and grateful for all that they receive from others. Teach your children the value of kindness. It always feels great to do good to others, and it is an important life lesson to learn.
Collaborate with your children
I feel it is really important to include your children in your ideas for activities, to encourage self-care learning. How about ‘brainstorming’ with them to come up with joint ideas? If you try a few ideas and your children do not like it, then try something else. For example, if you like going for a run in the park but your kids would rather ride their bikes, you can do both. The most important thing is to be consistent and plan some quality loving time with your children. Learning how to take care of ourselves and perform activities with your children is a great way to show healthy lifestyle choices whilst creating a stronger family bond between family members.