By Sophia Letts
Stress is something commonly associated with adults, but kids experience stress too. You can help your children manage stress by teaching them self-care. The benefits are enormous: self-care helps children deal with stress in a healthy way, teaches kids to put their mental and physical health first, and can reduce the risk of future mental health conditions. Therefore, it’s important to both model and teach your children self-care practices, and the NEO Chi Institute shows you how.
Start With a Healthy Routine
Teaching self-care to kids can be as easy as establishing a simple daily routine of healthy habits. It’s important for kids to know that they need to eat well and practice good hygiene to keep themselves healthy.
If your child is young, provide healthy meals and create routines for brushing teeth, bathing, and washing hands. For older children, help them set up a daily routine that incorporates thoughtful eating and hygiene habits they feel capable of doing themselves.
Get Moving and Get Outside
Exercise plays a vital role in keeping kids mentally and physically healthy. There are many fun ways to be active with your kids. Play football or tennis, run around a playground, go for a bike ride, do cartwheels on the lawn, or simply go for a walk—the list is endless. When kids move their bodies, they feel energetic, and afterward, they feel restored with a sense of well-being.
If possible, get moving out in nature. Spending time in nature reduces stress and fatigue, which is vital to self-care. Visit the beach or go on one of the many hiking trails.
Do Something Fun Together
Get out and do some fun activities together. Look for local kid-friendly concerts or festivals nearby, or make plans to attend a sporting event together. Most cities have local soccer, baseball, basketball, and football teams that would love for locals to come out and cheer them on. Or you can get tickets for the LA Dodgers or SF Giants games. You can find discounted tickets online and search the stadiums for the perfect seats for your family. It can even be a good excuse for a weekend road trip, which is a great way to relax and unwind together.
Develop Strategies for Coping
An important part of self-care is identifying and managing emotions. When your child is experiencing a big emotion, whether it’s sadness, anger, anxiety, or something else, talk to them about it and help them identify and name that feeling. Then, help your child develop strategies for coping with those feelings, which can include meditation, journaling, drawing or coloring, deep breathing, or listening to music.
Teaching your child meditation and deep breathing exercises can also help them to calm down and reflect on their feelings. These practices do more than encourage a pause. They actually slow down your breathing, reduce your blood pressure, and reduce your anxiety. If you would like more information on mindfulness and meditation practices that you and your family can use, contact the NEO Chi Institute. It was founded by neurologist Doc Segurado to teach mindfulness practices for healthier lifestyles.
Give to Others
Teach your child the importance of giving to others. Not only is giving to others a wonderful way your child can help people in need, but it can also make them happier and reduce their stress. Your kid can help others by donating clothes or toys to the less fortunate or volunteering at a food bank.
The best way you can teach your child the importance of self-care is to practice self-care yourself. Being stressed will only make your kids feel stressed as well. Create a healthy home environment—declutter your space, add some light and houseplants, and perhaps an oil diffuser. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, model healthy coping strategies by going for a walk, eating a healthy snack, writing in a gratitude journal, or mixing up your routine. Let go of perfection and enjoy some quality downtime with your family.
Both you and your children will benefit immensely from self-care. The most meaningful way to teach your kids self-care is to be kind and caring to yourself.