Self-Care Activities for Kids of All Ages
By Catherine Workman
Local coalitions and partners work tirelessly to reduce substance abuse, bullying, and violence for youth. Part of this means teaching children how to care for their mental and physical health from an early age, which includes everything from finding a hobby to maintaining their physical appearance. Today, we showcase a few self-care activities for kids that can help them maintain a clear mind so that they can avoid toxic habits in adulthood.
Be the Example
Before your kids can engage in self-care, they have to see you do the same—after all, they are quick to mirror your behavior. It’s not hard to role model healthy habits, especially knowing how badly parental stress affects children. Show your kids that it’s not selfish to practice self-care by easing up on your perfectionist tendencies, fueling your body with healthy foods, adding physical activity, and looking for ways to reduce stress when you come home from a hard day at work. Anything you can do to shake up your routine and give yourself a mental or physical break will go a long way toward teaching your little ones to do the same.
Self-Care for Kids
There are few activities that are both relaxing and mentally stimulating at the same time. But reading is one of these, and as Reading Rockets explains, starting early gives your children a leg up in the classroom. Read to your children and encourage them to find a story they love to enjoy on their own. Thirty minutes each night with a good book can help them wind down while stimulating their imagination and getting their brain ready for all the learning they’ll do throughout their years in school. You can further encourage your child to read by taking them to the library and getting them a library card. Although you can easily read books on phones or tablets, you’ll truly introduce them to the joys of reading by allowing them to pick out physical copies of the books that interest them. A library card is a wonderful gateway to the joys of reading.
Maintaining Personal Hygiene
Personal hygiene is more than just taking a bath and brushing your hair. Helping your children learn to keep themselves clean and well-maintained can improve their self-esteem, confidence, and self-image. Just as importantly, great hygiene reduces children’s chances of becoming sick. Personal hygiene also includes keeping their bodies healthy through getting enough sleep. Even when you have a kiddo that wakes before the sun comes up, the youngest members of your family need 10 or more hours of sleep every night.
If you think your child has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try a noise machine or talk to your pediatrician for advice. You can also create a relaxing bedtime routine that will help them get their minds and bodies ready for sleep. And last but not least, make sure your kids turn off their phones, tablets, and computers at least an hour before bedtime and remove them from the bedroom.
Blank Children’s Hospital shares several alarming statistics about childhood health, including the fact that only two percent of kids in the U.S. eat a healthy diet, and around a quarter of all kids don’t engage in physical activity. Give your children a healthy head start by helping them exercise. This could be anything from playing soccer in the backyard to hiking on the weekends. You can also encourage your kids to partake in other forms of physical activity, such as swimming, jogging, or signing up for martial arts classes. Letting them find what they enjoy will make them more likely to stick with it for the long term. At the end of the day, anything that gets them up and moving will encourage other healthy choices, such as sticking to a healthy diet.
Spending Time Away from Technology
While there are many different reasons for children’s stagnant lifestyles, one is, without question, their access to technology. In a world where most children have their own smart devices—88 percent of teenagers own a smartphone—kids have more distractions and don’t get outside as much. Introduce moderation into their lives by getting them to step away from tech for a little bit. Encourage your kids to play basketball with their friends in real life instead of talking through their headset during their next Fortnite battle. Make sure they have ample opportunities for socialization, including play dates and participation in afterschool activities.
Kids learn by watching, and if they are watching you let yourself go, they’ll do the same. Model healthy habits and make sure you give your kids plenty of opportunities to take better care of themselves. From personal hygiene to putting the phone away, healthy habits today can result in healthier, happier adults tomorrow.