Believe it or not, kids need self-care too. Now more than ever, our kids are finding it harder to cope with life because it’s harder for them to distance themselves from all the things happening in the world around them. Today we are going to explore why you need to teach your kids about self-care and how to do it.
Technology and social media have made being a kid way more complicated. All that access to all that information and people can be overwhelming and kids may find it difficult to unplug for fear of missing out on something important.
Signs of Stress or Anxiety in Kids
Knowing how to recognize indicators of anxiety and stress in your kids is vital to your being able to help them before things get too serious. Sometimes those signs are subtle and may go undetected unless you know what to look for.
Here is a list of symptoms your child may be suffering from stress or anxiety:
- Trouble sleeping
- Stomach aches
- Difficulty concentrating
How to teach your kids about self-care and ways to help them cope
Do your kids a favor and make them unplug and unwind at least a few times a week, if not daily. It’s like coming up for air. They may fight you on this, but if you are ready with engaging activities for them to complete, they’ll be less likely to get bored and start begging to get back online.
Create a safe environment for them to express their feelings. Try not to react to things they tell you until you’ve taken a moment to think it through. Certain reactions might be taken in a way you didn’t intend and will prevent your child from sharing with you in the future. It’s okay to express your opinion as long as you do it in a non-judgmental or critical way.
Teach them from a young age to “use their words”. Many adults still don’t know how to express their feelings verbally. Offer tools, such as a word list of feelings to help them pinpoint what it is they feel. Use a thesaurus to give them an even broader vocabulary of feeling words. Saying “I feel sad that my friend isn’t talking to me anymore” doesn’t express the same thing as saying “ I feel heartbroken that my friend isn’t talking to me anymore.” Being able to put a word to a feeling is an important communication skill and is vital to have a better understanding of one’s self.
Have meals together often. Eating at the table as a family gives your kids a natural environment to talk about their lives. It’s a no-pressure, informal place to communicate and share about your day.
Teach your kids about self-care. Help them make self-care a natural part of their routines. If you include it in their schedules from an early age, it will just become an innate part of their lives.
Self-Care Ideas for Kids
Now let’s talk about some self-care activities your kids can do to ensure they know how to cope with stress and anxiety.
- Play with slime
- Talk to someone they trust
- Do a puzzle
- Drink hot cocoa
- Take slow deep breaths
- Hug someone
- Listen to music
- Take a break
- Cuddle or play with a pet
- Use a stress ball or fidget gadget
- Ask for help
- Complement yourself – positive self-talk
- Bounce a ball
- Take pictures of things you like
Let me explain
While most of these are self-explanatory, a few of them require a little further discussion.
- Talk to someone they trust. This doesn’t have to mean you, and I know that’s hard to hear as a parent, believe me. This can be a friend, another relative, a teacher, a therapist, or any other person they trust.
- Take slow deep breaths. This is a great way to calm down. Try to encourage them to focus on their breathing or even count their breaths. Have them close their eyes if they are comfortable doing so and just breathe slowly and deliberately for a minute or two.
- Ask for help. They may be feeling frustrated or confused about something. It’s important for them to know that when they ask for help they will get it.
- Compliment yourself. Positive self-talk is so important! It’s easy to let your mind fill with negative, self-doubting thoughts. Learning to give yourself a compliment is a great skill to have. Your mind is a powerful thing, it can make or break you.
Kids have more stress and anxiety today than ever before in history. Technology makes our lives easier, but it also makes it harder to distance ourselves from things that might cause us stress. Your kids need a break. They need to be able to unplug and not think about anything but what’s right in front of them.
Teaching your kids about self-care and ways to deal with their stress and anxiety while they’re young, will give them the tools they need to sustain a healthy mental and physical well-being as they grow.
Do your part in helping them to make healthy choices and to recognize when they need to hit pause, by giving them your time and support.
Even the busiest of kids can take a few minutes each day to take care of themselves. The ideas we just discussed can usually be done in under 30 minutes. Even better, do them as a family to strengthen that family bond. Now you know why you need to teach your kids about self-care as well as how to do it.
Do you have anything you and your kids do to unwind and de-stress? Leave a comment below and share your ideas with us, we’d love to hear them!
Looking for more ways to add self-care to your routine? Check out these ideas.
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