Thursday 26 September 2019

Teaching Our Kids The Importance Of Self-Care

As adults we talk about how important self-care and finding time for ourselves is, but what about our kids?

We often think of our kids as these bundles of energy, always on the go, always full of beans but believe it or not our kids suffer from burn out too. Especially as they start to get older and more seems to be expected from them in general.

Teaching our children self-care is an important life skill that can be carried forward right the way through to adulthood. Self-care is all about learning the ability to ensure we can all live our lives to the full without being consumed by stress and worry. It's about knowing we can take time to regroup, centre ourselves and remove any pressure or stress and knowing that we have techniques to do just that.

We often find the important of teaching children how they can take care of themselves physically, teaching them how to wash, get dressed and learn new skills to help them in everyday life. But learning to take care of our minds from a young age is just as important.

Here are 5 ways we can help our kids practice self care -

Home Spa Day!

We all love a spa day but sometimes spas aren't the ideal place for kids and there can be lots of waiting around which can be hard for kids. Instead why not turn your living room or a bedroom into an at home spa and enjoy a day of relaxation in the comfort of your own home!

Think face masks, foot soaks, fluffy pyjamas, a movie or your favourite music, bubbly baths & bath bombs and most importantly no plans, no chores and no distractions just quality time to relax and unwind.

Mindfulness and Reflection

Teaching our children the benefits of mindfulness has a whole host of benefits. Not only can it help with impulse control, but it also helps them become more aware of their own thoughts and the thoughts of others.

Mindfulness is best taught through example so, it's important that as parents we are mindful ourselves as an example to our kids. There is no need to over complicate the practice with kids, after all mindfulness is all about notice more and have better awareness of their own body and minds, the world around them and the feelings of others.

With mindfulness also comes reflection and it's just as important to allow our kids that time to reflect and that we give them the time to listen to that. If kids don't feel like they are able to open up verbally you could begin with a notebook that they are able to reflect into, that they can then share if they wish to when they are ready.

Some of our favourite techniques are things like the breathing buddy, where children choose their favourite soft toy or object. They lay flat on the floor and place the object on their tummies. As they breath it and end children focus on the toy/teddy on their tummy and watch it rise and fall with their breaths. This really helps kids focus on each and every breath as they take it.

Another technique both my kids love are "thinking walks" we take time out to go on a family walk, enjoying the fresh air and our surrounds. Every now and again we will take a minute or two where we are totally quiet, we try to notice a different object, noise or sound that we hadn't noticed before. It helps kids become more aware of their surroundings and more in tune to the things and sounds around them.

Meditation and Yoga 

We often hear of adults using meditation & yoga to help them relax and refocus, but there are so many video's tutorials and even classes out there now teaching these techniques specifically for kids.

Yoga is a non-competitive exercise which incorporates meditation and breathing techniques which can be extremely beneficial for children and adults. Yoga can be as simple as learning different breathing techniques or you can try some simple poses, moving up to the more difficult poses and stretches if you feel confident to.

Yoga and Meditation can be fit into any schedule and we have found doing it before bedtime has really helped our kids to calm down after a busy or stressful day. It could also be done in the morning before school or out in the garden with the sunshine shining down on you.

Once children have been using yoga and meditation for a while, they will learn how powerful the techniques are, especially the breathing techniques. They are then able to implement whenever they needed even if they may be at school, out with friends or in a situation they find worrying.

Let Loose and Run Wild

Exercise is not only good for the body but it's good for the mind too. Sometimes we all just need to let loose and feel free. Whether that's running through an open field, shouting out towards the ocean or just getting muddy hands and knees without a care in the world.

Whether your kids choose to walk, run, climb, swim or just let loose in the park, the fresh air will do wonders for their mind and to burn off any anxious energy or built up frustration.

Practice What You Preach

Self-care is for everyone and children learn the most from watching their parents, peers and other children. So when we try to teach our children about self-care it's so important that we take time out for your own self-care.

Lots of the ideas above can be used for both adults and children and it is such a lovely idea to be able to practice self-care together. Teaching our children the importance of being aware of our own body and mind, to make time for ourselves and how it is ok to put ourselves first sometimes and do things that we love.

Whilst as adult we are able to verbalise own feelings pretty well, children can often struggle with this so when practicing self-care together try and let them take the lead and it can really help them open up too.

Do you or your children practice self care yourselves? If so do you have any tips or advice? I would love to hear your ideas and how self care has helped you or your children in the comments below!


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