You’ve probably heard the term “self-care” a lot recently. While it’s a trending topic, taking care of yourself isn’t just a fad. It’s an integral part of building self-worth and creating a fulfilling life. And it’s not just for grown-ups-kids need self-care too!
Explaining Self-Care to Kids
Helping kids learn the importance of self-care builds habits and mindsets that will benefit them for a lifetime. Self-care might sound complicated, but we can keep things simple to help kids understand why it’s so important.
- Explain that self-care means taking care of yourself.
- Have kids imagine taking care of a pet at home or plants in a garden.
- Ask them questions like: “What do pets need to be happy and healthy? What do plants need to grow big and strong?”
- Explain that kids also need special care to grow strong and be healthy. Then you can share activities and ideas for what we can do to take care of ourselves.
9 Self-Care Ideas for Kids
Here are some helpful ideas we can use to teach children about the meaning of self-care:
#1: Taking Care of Our Bodies
The essential first step to self-care for kids: learning to take care of their physical needs. This includes:
- Eating good food that nourishes our bodies.
- Being active in a way you enjoy could be a sport or yoga or merely playing or silly dancing at home.
- Getting plenty of sleep every night.
- Letting a trusted adult know if you’re hurt.
This piggybacks on sleep from the first example, but rest is more than just sleep. Rest means taking a break when you’re tired. It means downtime and relaxation.
Have kids talk about what relaxing activities they enjoy. It could be things like reading, drawing, or cuddling with a pet.
#3: Asking for Help
Part of taking care of ourselves is learning when to ask for help. Even as an adult, this can be hard to do! Teaching this habit early on is an excellent way for kids to learn about self-care.
Encourage kids to try solving problems on their own. But if they get stuck, it’s okay to ask a friend or trusted adult for help. Let them know that we all need help sometimes, and that’s how we grow and learn.
#4: Learning New Things
Learning new skills and ideas makes life interesting and exciting. It helps children feel empowered and capable. Children are naturally curious, but along the way, sometimes we lose sight of the thrill of learning.
To practice this self-care activity, ask children to share something they enjoyed learning. It doesn’t have to be related to school. It could be a skill they knew, like tying their shoes or throwing a baseball. Or it could be any strange or interesting fact they learned.
#5: Helping Others
Helping others is a crucial part of self-care for kids. Activities could include everything from supporting a friend or neighbor to volunteering in local programs.
When we help others or give back to our communities, we foster a sense of belonging. This is key for developing self-worth and meaning in life. Kids feel special when they know they’re needed.
#6: Express Yourself
Creativity comes naturally to children, and it’s essential to encourage them to find creative outlets they enjoy. Kids can express themselves through many kinds of art, writing, dance, or music.
Make sure to emphasize the process rather than the result. Let kids explore and find what brings them joy.
Yes, play is an essential part of self-care for kids! Although children are born to play, the modern lifestyle can sometimes leave little room for unstructured activities. Encourage children to spend time in nature and playing with friends without any other agenda planned.
#8: Working Through Tough Feelings
Self-care for kids includes teaching them to take care of their feelings. Overwhelming emotions should be a signal to children that they need to take action. That could mean:
- Spending some time in a calm down corner.
- Writing down their feelings in a journal (or drawing a picture of how they feel).
- Taking a moment to practice deep breathing techniques.
Here are more posts that help with this idea:
#9: Practice Mindfulness
Kids naturally live in the moment and become wholly absorbed in what they are doing in the present. We want to help them bring this mindset into adulthood by encouraging mindful activities.
Here are a few simple mindfulness exercises you can practice with children:
More Ideas and Activities for Kids
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Thanks for reading,
Stephanie 🧡 Founder/Owner of Balancing Elephants and creator of the BE Buddy®
P.S. A gift for you! Download the FREE Self-Care for Kids with Anxiety-A Guide for Parents today! This printable 32-page guide is a great resource to help your child develop wellness from the inside out!