by Christine Peace, Behavior Coach
Self-care is important for parents to be aware of and encourage in their children and themselves. Further, parents should serve as models of self-care for their children. This is because impact that self-care can have on the overall wellbeing of individuals, including children, is profound.
Any conscious action taken to maintain physical, emotional, and mental well-being is known as self-care. While this may seem simple, it is crucial for parents to understand that children need to learn how to take care of themselves and be given opportunities to do so. Healthy diet, exercise, adequate sleep, spending time with friends and family, and taking time to unwind and enjoy oneself are some examples of self-care activities. Additionally, parents can participate in these activities with their children to foster a supportive environment. However, parents must keep in mind the importance of caring for their own needs and making time for their self-care activities, so they can be the best version of themselves for their children.
In conjunction with parents, teachers are also crucial in helping kids learn about self-care. Teachers can offer stress-reduction techniques and support students in identifying when they are feeling overburdened or having trouble controlling their emotions. In the classroom, teachers can also foster a culture of self-care and offer tools to support students in forming healthy routines. Subsequently, it is crucial for educators to take care of themselves as well, since doing so will enable them to give their pupils a safe and supportive learning environment. Like parents, to be their best selves in the classroom, educators must adopt self-care practices such as taking regular breaks, exercising, and giving sleep top priority.
As they learn how to practice self-care, children can better manage stress, build resilience, and foster healthy relationships. Children can practice self-care in creative ways, such as drawing, writing, playing video games and sports, or spending time outdoors. Parents and educators can help children develop self-care strategies by encouraging them to recognize and manage their emotions, setting boundaries, and taking time for themselves. Self-care is an important part of healthy development, and children should be given the opportunity to practice it in order to foster a healthy relationship with themselves.
Of note are teenagers, who are especially prone to feeling overwhelmed and struggling to manage their emotions. It is important for teens to practice self-care in order to feel more in control of their lives. Teenagers can use activities such as journaling, yoga, mindfulness practice, listening to music, or engaging in creative hobbies. It is also important for teenagers to prioritize their sleep and nutrition. Parents and educators can help teenagers recognize the importance of self-care and create an environment that encourages and supports it. Self-care is a critical skill for teenagers to develop and helps them make gains in the same areas that younger children and adults experience.
Ultimately, self-care is a critical skill for all ages. Parents, educators, and caregivers can help children and teenagers learn and practice self-care by modeling positive behaviors, encouraging them to recognize and self-regulate their feelings, and fostering self-care experiences. Taking time for self-care can help people of all ages to enhance their lived experiences from day-to-day. As the motivational quote by Audrey Hepburn says, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Self-care can be seen as planting a garden for yourself - a pathway to a better future.