You’re never too young for self-care. Self-care is about taking care of yourself and your mental health, so it can be useful for children to start thinking about ways to look after themselves so they can develop self-care skills for later in life. As children grow up, school and social pressure can cause them stress, so a toolkit of self-care rituals can be very helpful. To teach your children how to look after themselves, and to manage your own mental health, you can practise self-care together as a family. Here are some of the self-care rituals you can share.
Self-care can be done at any stage, and there are lots of very simple things that you can do as a family to care for your mind, body, and spirit. Some of these ideas are also lovely ways to spend time together as a family while doing something that is positive for all of you.
There are lots of overlooked self-care rituals that you’re probably already doing or can easily start. Think about these practices and how you could include the children.
Read A Book
If you know that you love to read, then this practise of self-care is probably already part of your regular routine. There are few things that are more relaxing that disappearing into a good book and escaping from your daily worries. Reading is also a good way to reduce your screen time, and escape the hassle of daily life.
If you want to make reading a bigger part of your everyday self-care practice, then try reading at least ten pages of a book every day. Set your kids a similar challenge. How many pages they should aim for will depend on their age and reading skill. Make reading a part of family routine, by either reading a few pages of a story together at bedtime or making a set hour of the day book time.
Some pampering is a classic way to look after yourself and to unwind after a difficult day. Allow yourself time for a little spoiling, and balance time alone and together. Take some time yourself with a long soak in the bath, or spend time together by doing fun things like face masks, manicures or pedicures with the children.
You can do this pampering yourself at home, or you could take the kids to a spa or salon for some extra pampering. By teaching the kids to take good care of themselves, you can also encourage them to have good physical health. Remember though that pampering is not always enough. Sometimes, they might need extra support, such as advice from a dermatologist for teenage acne, or Laser Toenail Fungus Treatment if one of you has feet that need some professional help.
Spend Time Outdoors
Being outside is a great way to ground yourself in nature. Getting outside together on a regular basis doesn’t have to take a lot of effort either. It could be something simple, like asking one of the children to walk with you to the local shop to pick up milk, or a bigger weekend activity like going for a family bike ride or a hike. A mix of both kinds of outside time is an ideal way to spend more time in nature as often as possible. Being outside together, breathing in some fresh air and enjoying listening to the sounds of nature like the wind and the birds can be very peaceful. Research also tells us that a connection between you and nature can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Outdoor activities are also a good way to start teaching children to appreciate nature and the great outdoors too.
You might already try to take a little time each day to feel grateful for the things you have. Practising gratitude doesn’t have to be as major a commitment like journaling every day or other techniques can make it seem. Instead of trying to write in a gratitude journal, try to create time for gratitude. One of the hardest parts of self-care is trying to remain in the present and live in the moment. A simple way to make more time for gratitude is to set a daily alarm on your phone. Edit the alarm text, so it reminds you to think of what you are grateful for right now. When the alarm goes off, spend a moment sending out some gratitude for whatever is in front of you. Ask your children to share something that they are grateful for too. Perhaps you could make this a regular practice. When you sit down together for your evening meal, go around the table to take it in turns to share something positive from your day that you feel grateful for. These things could be small, like having a delicious sandwich for lunch, or they could be bigger things like a good grade at school or a promotion at work.
Revel In Your Hobbies
A lot of us have a mix of different hobbies that we like to enjoy in order to relax. Whether your family has hobbies that are physical activities like a weekend sports team, or you all prefer spending your free time on a sewing project or writing, make sure you find time for your hobbies. Even if you only get a small amount of time among a busy schedule for your hobbies, make the time. Make sure your children find time for hobbies too, around their schoolwork and chores.
Focusing your mind on an activity that you love to do that is separate from your work or school and from your family responsibilities can be a good way to rest your mind and unwind. Maybe you could try a new hobby as a family, like a painting class you can take together, or learning a language together for somewhere you’d like to visit for a family vacation.
Take Time For Meals
Of course, your family are already eating meals every day, but are they actually taking the time to pay attention to what they’re eating? Do you all just try and get the food in you as fast as you can do you can all go your separate ways to get on with homework, after-school activities, or the television? If you can fit it in, take an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner. Try to avoid eating on the go or during a meeting whenever possible. We all need a little time to rest in order to properly refuel. This will help you to work at your best mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Set rules around meal times so you and your children can recharge properly. Don’t eat in front of the television, and don’t let the children take their meals off to their bedrooms to eat in front of their computers. Instead, try to sit around the dinner table together. Ban phones from the table, so you can all eat without distractions. By doing this, you can all focus on what you’re eating, the way the food tastes and eating the right amount. If you aren’t distracted, you’re less likely to overeat. Without phones or the television vying for your attention, meal times also become a great way to spend some quality time together as a family and actually talk to each other.
If you’re thinking about the trendy Instagram kind of self-care rituals, water is probably not one of the first things that you think about. However, drinking water and making sure you are getting enough water is one of the best ways to ensure you’re practising self-care and taking good care of your physical health. Not only does water do good work to hydrate the body from the inside out, but it can also work well to help reduce the occurrence of headaches. Drinking enough water will also improve your immune system, and increase your energy levels. If you or one of the children tend to miss out on getting enough water, think about tracking how many glasses of water you or they drink in a day by using a water tracking app. You could also tick off your water consumption on your daily planner and encourage the kids to do the same. Gift everyone in the family with a reusable water bottle with marked times on the side. You can all keep your water bottle with you, which makes it easier to remember to drink.
Self-care doesn’t have to be trendy or ground-breaking to be effective. Find the daily habits that your family are already doing every day that make you feel good, and develop these into part of a self-care routine in order to help you to relax. Self-care is an important practice for mental health. By teaching your children good self-care habits now, they will be better prepared for dealing with things like exam stress at school and have better tools for self-care to use as they grow up into adults.