Self-care is something of a buzzword these days.
When we all live hectic lifestyles, it’s often difficult to find the time to set a moment aside to look after your body and mind.
When you do have a moment for “me time”, it’s easy to forget that your kids need self-care just as much as you do.
They might not have the same stresses and concerns, but just like you, your children face a huge variety of emotions and experiences each day that they need to make sense of.
Just as you teach your children about nutrition and fitness to help them establish habits that they can carry with them to later life, it’s a good idea to introduce self-care to their routine too.
After all, it’s much tougher to create a new habit from scratch than to maintain a specific practice.
The earlier your kids start learning self-care routines, the more likely it will be that they feel like natural and normal aspects of their lives.
So, how do you start introducing your child to something as complex as self-care?
The good news is that it’s a lot simpler than you’d think.
Start With a Positive Family Routine
Children need structure in their lives to feel comfortable and well-rounded.
A good family routine is a great way to contribute to the wellbeing of your whole household, not just your youngsters.
As well as giving a sense of predictability and security to prevent anxiety, routines also make transitions through the day as simple as possible too.
Think about the kind of regular daily routines that you can put in place to assist your child with self-care and relaxation.
Remember, it’s important to have times in your daily schedule not just for eating and homework, but playtime and mindfulness too.
Consider implementing a period of “slow-down” time into your schedule at the end of each day that your little one can use to relax and unwind.
During this period, they might have a nice hot bath, or try some basic yoga.
Focus on Getting Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is one of the most crucial ingredients for good mental and physical health – no matter your age.
Because of this, good self-care often starts with a strong focus on sleep.
For a child, the best thing you can do is implement a regular sleeping schedule that allows them to go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
While it might be tempting to let your child stay up later and sleep in for longer on weekdays, don’t go too far outside of your schedule.
If you do let your child sleep a little longer on certain days, make sure that he or she wakes up no more than an hour after their usual alarm time.
This will help to keep your child’s circadian rhythm in check, for better overall sleeping patterns.
Remember, sleep is crucial for teenagers too, as it can improve academic performance and mood.
Work on Getting Healthy Together
Everyone in your family can benefit from healthier living, so why not work on your goals as a team?
Instead of giving your kids healthy meals and just grabbing whatever you can at the end of the day, sit down with your children for a wholesome dinner at least once a day.
Remember that what children eat can have a profound impact on their attention span, mood, and brain development.
However, it’s not just your kids that are affected by diet – it’s you too.
As a parent, you’ll probably find that you don’t have a lot of time to stop and make food for yourself, which is why at the very least you should just eat what your children are eating.
At the same time, remember that getting healthy also involves challenging your body from time to time with workouts and regular exercise.
Encourage your child to take part in physical activities that they enjoy, like swimming and running, and join them for a weekly exercise session.
Unlock the Value of Technology
A lot of parents today make the mistake of thinking that if they want their child to be healthy and well balanced, they need to keep them away from technology as much as possible.
However, the truth is that there’s nothing wrong with bringing a little tech into your child’s life – provided that you’re focusing on the right things.
For instance, there are smartphone apps available for practically everything these days.
You can find apps that teach your child all about food groups and what they should be eating.
There are even apps for yoga, guided relaxation, and meditation that cater to kids of all ages too.
Despite the common belief that tech is the enemy in good parenting, it can actually be an amazing way to encourage self-care and establish habits that stick with your child throughout their lives.
Make Downtime a Priority
Finally, remember that you and your children both need a break from time to time. It’s easy to feel like you should be going and doing things all of the time.
In an effort to keep our kids entertained, a lot of parents enroll their youngsters in endless groups and classes that keep them busy throughout the week – right the way up until bedtime.
However, it might be a good idea to rethink your child’s schedule – does it include enough time for rest and relaxation?
A routine that includes a moment of quiet inner reflection can make a big difference to people of any age.
Teenagers and older children, in particular, will benefit from downtime, often when they’re experiencing the stress of things like school and exams.
Me Time for Everyone
Everyone deserves a little time for self-care in their lives, from parents like you to the children that you look after.
The five techniques above will help you to introduce more of a self-care routine to your kids going forward so that they can make the most out of their routine.