How to Help Your Child Become a Self-Care Expert

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Moving through the stages of childhood and adolescence has been difficult for youth throughout the ages. However, the stressors and situations challenging children have changed drastically over the years, and the need to teach children self-care now is vital. Foster Today explains that teaching kids to take care of themselves physically and emotionally prepares them for the future, increases their resilience, and promotes wellness now and into adulthood.

 

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Basic Needs Are Met

It’s important to note that wellness and appropriate self-care strategies cannot exist or won’t be effective when basic needs aren’t being met. Children need shelter, healthy food, rest, and safety before they can work on their emotional wellness. Parents, teachers, childcare providers, and other caregivers are tasked with making sure these are in place for the children in their care.

 

All Feelings Are Accepted

According to pediatric psychologists at Connecticut Children’s, some vital first steps include helping youngsters name and accept feelings, express emotions through words or art, recognize signs of stress, and use healthy coping strategies. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you teach your children self-regulation (based on Dr. Daniel Siegel’s three steps: notice, name, and respond) as well as appropriate strategies for expressing emotions:

  • Five minutes in a calm space together
  • Guided, slow, deep breathing
  • Cold water or a popsicle to “reset” the nervous system
  • Progressive muscle relaxation, such as “tense and release”
  • A one-on-one conversation with a stuffed animal

These suggestions are often given to parents and caregivers of young children, but the strategies are also effective for adolescents and adults. It is crucial that preschoolers to young adults to retirees are in places where they feel secure and calm before coping strategies can be taught.

 

Self-Care Is Modeled

Whether you are a parent or a caregiver, one of the most important steps in teaching self-care principles is modeling the goals and behaviors. Talk about the things you do to care for yourself and the importance of those activities. For example, if you take a break in your day to eat a snack of fruits and veggies, talk about the benefits of the nutrients and how bodies and minds benefit from a nutritious diet. Model a variety of wellness habits and invite children to participate with you:

  • Going for a bike ride
  • Taking a walk to enjoy the beauty of nature
  • Listening to music
  • Creating art
  • Breathing and practicing yoga
  • Developing a new hobby

 

There are several components involved in effective modeling: attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation. Caregivers must have the attention of the child. The desired behavior must be repeated often enough for the child to remember what they’ve seen and experienced. Can the child repeat the behavior or replicate it in their own life? Finally, the child needs a reason to put the behavior into practice.

 

Families Grow Together

Family activities are a great way to practice coping strategies. Consider, for example, going as a family to a resort, something that every family member will enjoy. This is a wonderful idea to not only get away and spend quality time with the kids, but to create lifetime memories as well. And it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You can find great deals and discounts for your next Disney trip, for example, at Mouse Life Today, where you also read up on the latest Disney-related news and take advantage of a rewards program.

 

While self-care looks different for children and adults at various stages of life, success begins with providing for basic needs, identifying and responding to emotions appropriately, modeling helpful behaviors, and putting coping strategies into place. As children and teens become adept at self-care, they’ll use these skills throughout their lives.

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