Teaching Your Child Self-Care

The World Health Organisation defines self-care as, “Self-care is broad concept which also encompasses hygiene (general and personal); nutrition (type and quality of food eaten); lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure, etc.); environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.); socioeconomic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.); and self-medication. Core principles: Fundamental principles for self-care include aspects of the individual (e.g. self-reliance, empowerment, autonomy, personal responsibility, self-efficacy) as well as the greater community (e.g. community participation, community involvement, community empowerment).”

Not many individuals understand self-care and know how to put it into everyday practice. This may be because the concept of self-care was not as widely spread as now, and it had that connotation to only be for a certain economic class. 

“Teach them while they are young”, as this quote goes, it could be a good idea to get kids familiar with the concept and practice of self-care early. This may help reinforce the concept to them and also get them to develop self-care as a habit.

There are numerous ways to teach self-care. Depending on how your child absorbs information and how he/she retains certain details, the ones below may be useful tips for you on how to impart the love for self-care to your child.

Define Self-Care to your child

As with any kind of subject matter, a child will need to be oriented to a certain concept before he/she can even put it into practice. Explain the idea of self-care, its importance, methods on how to practice it, and its long-term effects, among many others. With the concept defined in a clear, straightforward manner, your child may even be able to formulate himself/herself what kind of methods he/she can use in order to start practicing self-care.

It may also be good to refer to examples either online or through individuals within your circle on how self-care is practiced by children. As some children are visual learners, for them to actually see certain examples can make it even easier for them to be familiar with the concept.

Explain why Self-Care is an essential

After explaining what it is, we go to the more important part now – explaining why self-care is actually an essential part of everyone’s daily routine. 

The quote, “You can’t pour from an empty cup” , can be a concise way to explain the importance of self-care. Emphasise why no matter what socio-economic status you have, your religion, your race, your gender, or your age, self-care is and should be an essential in your daily routine. 

As kids, it is important for them to understand how they can inject self-care in their daily routine in order for them to have a better grasp of the concept and to develop within themselves how they can carry it on and tweak it as they grow older. 

Provide them with the tools that they may need

With your child just starting to understand the concept of self-care and familiarising himself/herself to how he/she can implement it to his/her daily routine, it would be helpful if you provide him/her with the tools that may be needed for him/her to start with this/her routine. 

Depending on how your child will be incorporating self-care and what specific routine will he/she implement, you can provide tools such as books, gadgets, and products, etc. This will also be a good way for you to see and monitor what kind of self-care activities your child will be having, and help develop or tweak it with him/her. 

Self-Care for the mind and body

Once your child understands that caring for yourself is not only for the body, but more importantly for his/her mental and emotional well-being, incorporating a self-care routine within his/her daily activities may be slightly easier.

Practices embracing wellness for the body include consuming a balanced combination of healthy good and “feel-good” food. Self-care does not mean that he/she will need to eat veggies and fruits all the time. It means that in order to care for his/her body, he/she will need to consume a good amount of nutritious food – to support his growth – and also a healthy amount of “feel-good” food for times when he/she feels like munching on sweets or snacks. 

The physical aspect of it includes taking into habit injecting a few minutes of exercise everyday, May it be going to the gym, jogging around the block, or just walking the dog, this will be the opportunity to spark your child’s love for exercising. Physical activities could also mean sports that they can enjoy either in school or during the weekends. 

There are many ways self-care for the mind can be practiced, it will depend on which one can be effectively injected in your child’s daily routine. Meditation is one good example. While you may enroll your child to actual meditation classes, there are also ways to do it at home. By finding a spot within your home where your child can enjoy a couple of minutes of silence, then it should be sufficient. 

Reading could be a good form of self-care as well, it can relax the mind and let imagination flow. It can be a good “me-time” moment for your child and even has a positive effect on his vocabulary and knowledge on the subject matter of the book he/she is reading. 

Aside from the most common self-care activities, the other side of self-care that may seem the easiest but can be the most challenging one would be daily positive affirmations and instilling the concept of self-love into your child. Positive affirmations are words, phrases, or statements that can help battle and kill any negative thoughts your child may have about himself/herself. 

Daily positive affirmations can be targeted to get your child to believe more in himself/herself, to boost his/her self-esteem, or even to effect positive changes in his/her life. 

Daily positive affirmations can be written down or said out loud. Some examples could be:

  • Today I will not let negative thoughts affect my emotions
  • I am strong and am learning to be independent
  • I am unique
  • There is nothing wrong with asking questions
  • I choose to be happy
  • I love myself

Formulating a self-care routine with your child will depend on your assessment on your child’s needs. May it be a comprehensive routine or testing our one self-care task at a time, starting at an early age may be very beneficial for your child as he/she grows up and faces more challenges in life. 

If you want to learn more about self-care routine and holistic growth for your child, visit us at www.edupivot.sg

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