Self Care Sunday-For Our Children
I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside.”
· Whitney Houston, Greatest Love Of All
This week’s self-care is dedicated to our wonderful young people-younger children and teens. They are our future. They are so important, and they should know how wonderful they are.
The last few weeks I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing children in practice as I returned to face to face therapy and coaching. We have built confidence, increased self-esteem, dealt with sleep issues, addressed habits, created new coping mechanisms for managing anxiety, anger and control, and so much more. Each client and their family is completely unique! I am always in awe of how adaptable children of all ages really are. Their resilience has certainly shined through over the past 6 months. And now the time has come for many to return to school or college. So how as parents and carers can we ensure our youngsters are looking after themselves? As school returns how can we promote self-care amongst our children?
Helping children to establish a routine that works for them is important. Do not compare your own family routine to other families. You know your children-you know their triggers and what will work and will not work for you as a family. Helping them to establish a healthy routine helps to also reinforce the importance of self-care.
On a physical level we need to support our children with sleep patterns, nutrition, and exercise. As parents the boundaries we set impact on our children later in life. Encourage them to eat well, exercise and most of all enjoy being a child. Let them jump in muddy puddles. Embrace all weathers and love the outdoors. Fresh air and exercise are good for us all.
Encourage them to get those earlier nights before school. Remember they have been out of “routine” for the past 6 weeks if they did return to school, and the majority much longer, so do not expect miracles overnight. Be kind to them and allow a bit more time for settling down.
There is much debate around screen time-ultimately, we live in a computer-generated age where older generations don’t understand the extent of gaming and social media. However, we do know that we should be encouraging self-regulation around screen time and use. We should be allowing for the brain to relax and rest. So, give them time away from screens before bed time. Sit and talk with them. Read with them.
Encourage good hygiene-not just COVID-19 pandemic “everyone must sing happy birthday” hand-washing but encourage them to take pride in themselves, the importance of hygiene and good habits from a young age.
Often I see clients that struggle to self-regulate and some that constantly need the company of others, demanding all of their parents time. They struggle with being on their own and with their own “boredom”. As parents, of course our children become our world and there is lots of pressure to “constantly entertain” them, but they need space and time to find and lead the way too. Do not set everything up for them. Yes you may have a few activities in mind to do and you may rotate toys for younger years but having too much “set up” can lead to a child struggling in later life with their own company. Children need to learn to love their own company and be with their own thoughts. They need to utilise their own imagination. Encourage that balance.
Encourage your child to speak positively about themselves. What three words can your child say about themselves as a person? See it they can build on this. Tell them three things you think they are.
Praise them-tell them regularly how amazing they are! Boost their confidence and self-esteem. It is all part of self-care.
Encourage them to take pride in what they do and love themselves for their true authentic self. Ask to see their work and even in older years of school, show a real invested interest in what they are doing.
If your child suffers from stress, then explore coping mechanisms together. Perhaps, breathing techniques, children’s yoga or even a stress ball-something they can hold or squeeze to release any tension.
Let them know that it is okay to fail at things. They do not have to get everything right the first time. Life would be boring if we were all good at the same things.
Make time for laughter. Get your children to belly laugh. From my own experience as a Mum, laughter is the best medicine, and nothing beats hearing that giggle and seeing my children smiling. Sometimes I need to embrace my own nomadic ways and remember what it is like to be young.
“My child is different”. Encourage those differences. Let them embrace their nomadic, child ways. Get them feeling comfortable with who they are. We live in a world where we mould children quickly into social norms and values. They are all unique and let them know that that’s okay.
Reassure your child that they are safe and secure. Give them those extra cuddles and create time where they have your full attention-they grow so quickly. Let them share any worries with you.
Embrace the new hobbies that they want to try. Where it is not always possible to financially or logistically try out every class that our children state they really want to do, as they change their minds quickly. There are lots of free classes online, including some amazing free videos on YouTube for dance, yoga, martial arts. Hobbies contribute towards our children's identity, and they should not be forced. They should get enjoyment from these outlets.
Back to school tip
With new measures in place many children cannot take “extra” things into school, and uniform polices don’t allow for jewellery etc. So, if your child is anxious encourage them to place a hand on their chest and feel their heartbeat anytime they feel they miss you or are worried. As they do so reassure them that you are always there-the rhythm and focusing on something else may provide them with any comfort and reassurance they might need. At the end of each day you can ask how many times they placed their hand on their heart, and they may ask you the same.
Children model what they see and hear. As parents we need to take care of ourselves, to show them how important self-care is.
Happy end of holidays...you have got this and so have your children!
Love and light to you all.
Owner of Abundance TEC and Founder of Self Care Sunday Blog Series.
Over the next few weeks Abundance TEC will be featuring guest bloggers on our website and social media platforms to support Self-Care Sunday.
The aim is to raise awareness as to why self-care is so important and to highlight a variety of ways you can implement self-care into your everyday routine to support positive mental health and well-being.These inspiring business owners and bloggers will be providing their own version of what self-care means to them and why they do what they do to look after themselves.
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