Any hard-working mom knows the importance of some good, old-fashioned self-care. Whether it’s yoga with your girlfriends or a night in with some wine, looking after yourself is the first step to living a happy, healthy life. But how can moms emphasize the importance of self-care to their children? There are plenty of ways to impart this wisdom on your kids, but here are just a few to get you started.
Encourage Their Hobbies
Your child comes running into the room, clutching a piece of construction paper in their paint-stained hands. You pluck the paper from their hands and see a Pollock-esque mishmash of brick red, robin’s egg blue, and burnt umber. According to your child, it’s a family portrait.
Most moms would immediately hang it on the fridge, and rightfully so! After all, your kid worked so hard on this masterpiece, there’s no reason to let it go to waste.
This scenario is an example of one way you can encourage childhood self-care, even in toddlers. Praising the work your child has done will improve their self-esteem and encourage them to continue their efforts. Your child doesn’t have to be the best singer, artist, writer, or athlete—so long as you support them, and so long as they’re having fun, they’ll find fulfillment in whatever activities strike their fancy.
Get Them Moving
Just as moms need to walk, stretch, and jog every once in a while, children need their exercise, too. Trips to the playground are quick and fun ways to let your child get all of that unspent energy out of their system, but there are other creative ways to get them bouncing and giggling. Research has proven that physical exertion is important for children, as it can increase muscular and cardiovascular strength and enhance self-esteem. To get your kids moving, host regular family outings and activities centered around movement. Perhaps you check out some local walking, biking, or hiking trails every weekend. Or maybe you start an impromptu dance party in the living room. You could even set up an obstacle course in the backyard for some light-hearted yet competitive fun! The possibilities really are endless, and something as simple as tossing a baseball or frisbee around could lead to a more well-rounded, content kid.
Be a Self-Care Model
This one seems obvious, but it can easily be overlooked. Sometimes, kids want space. Other times, they want an unbiased listening ear. It’s important to learn how to read between the lines to figure out what your kid wants and needs. While the two may be very different from time to time, striking a balance is important. The observational learning theory in psychology suggests that children observe those around them to learn how to behave in certain situations. By setting a model of compassion and introspection, you are essentially teaching your child to partake in their own self-care. Learning self-care from a young age is going to benefit them in the long run as they grow and try to navigate the choppy waters of adolescence.