8 Effective ways to instill self care in children at an early age
Instilling self-care habits in children at a young age will help them cope with the future and achieve their full potential while also lowering their risk of developing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Self-care habits for kids that can be practised on a regular basis, provide stress relief, and support the maintenance of a healthy body and mind. Simple self-care habits can be started at any age. Even thinking about the words self-care can seem like an imaginary trend to parents of young children. We all know, however, that making time to care for our bodies and minds is an essential component of living a healthy and happy life. It's similar to the old analogy of putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others, suggests Dr Prashanth Gowda, consultant paediatrician and neonatalogist, Motherhood Hospital.
How can you help someone else if your body and mind aren't in good shape? While we may try to squeeze in as much self-care as we can, it's also important to recognise how important good self-care habits are to children, and it's up to us as parents to model that behaviour.
Begin with the fundamentals
Do you assist your child in bathing? Is she brushing her teeth? Do you eat healthy foods? if yes then you've already begun laying the groundwork for good self-care. Hand washing and food preparation are two other excellent self-care practices to model for your child.
Develop their mind
Assist your child in taking a break from the screen, putting down their toys, and reconnecting with their inner self. Mindfulness promoting activities such as yoga, meditation, and guided imagery are effective tools for increasing insight, awareness, and even tolerance for discomfort.
The body to be pushed
Exercise is an important part of self-care, particularly when done with the goal of taking care of the physical body and mind. Encourage your kids to participate in physical activity they enjoy, whether it's joining a team sport or simply walking around the neighbourhood.
Make downtime a priority
Downtime is beneficial for everyone. Routines that include quiet and alone time, even if it's just a few minutes rocking in a chair while being sung to or read to, provide opportunities for centring and connection.
Books and resources on healthy self-care habits for kids
Children enjoy being read to, and they often return to the same books over and over. Request self-care books for birthdays from family and friends, or check out library books on subjects like teeth brushing, healthy eating, and getting dressed! As you read with your child, ask them questions, respond to their inquiries, and discuss the mundane tasks that remain a mystery to them.
Construct a healthy family routine
The importance of routine for developing children cannot be overstated. They provide a sense of security to children, and having activities or events that they can anticipate throughout the day reduces anxiety and facilitates day-to-day transitions. Look for ways to build a healthy family routine as you look for ways to teach your children about self-care. Include a slow down period in your daily schedule. It can be a moment when the whole family is device-free, the TV is turned off, and everyone is reading, drawing, playing a silent game, or practising meditation. These relaxing activities can help a child's brain become more thoughtful. Even giving your child structure around meal times will help them understand the importance of setting aside time for healthy necessities. Set aside time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and try to avoid being distracted during those times.
Develop and stick to a normal bedtime routine
A regular bedtime routine signals to your child's body and mind that it's time to wind down and prepare for sleep. The routine can be tailored to your child's needs, but it should last about 20 minutes and include three to four calm, calming activities like putting on PJs, brushing teeth, taking a warm bath, and reading. Bedtime routines give children a sense of security and familiarity.
Healthy eating habits in children
It is critical for your child's growth and development to feed them nutritious foods. It's also beneficial to instil healthy eating habits and food values in your child. Keep healthy snacks on hand at home and avoid buying unhealthy snacks. If the healthy option is the only one available, children will choose it. You could have a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter and a container of vegetable sticks in the fridge, for example.