The last two years have been particularly stressful for parents and caregivers, but we should recognize that it's been stressful for our kids too. Self-care might look different for our little ones, it can be fun to help them revitalize too. Check out some of these ideas as you make a self-care plan for the whole family.
Eating healthy food helps all of us to feel better, especially after the rich and heavy food of the holidays. Talk to your kids about eating lots of different kinds of food, especially food in lots of different colors to get lots of great nutrients. Check out the cookbook section of the youth department, and see if there's something you and your kids would like to make together. Kid Chef Every Day by Colleen Kennedy is a fun one--it's full of easy recipes and lots of healthy options.
We all know that we feel better about ourselves when we've had a shower and put on some clean clothes. The same goes for our kids, though they don't always know it. Talk to your kids about ways to make bath time or shower time fun. Do they like bubbles? Would showers be more fun if they could listen to music? If your kids are into science, check out How Does Soap Clean Your Hands? by Madeline J. Hayes, which is full of cool facts to teach kids the importance of healthy habits.
Encouraging kids to use their imaginations is a great way to encourage their self-care. Boredom can breed lethargy, which can breed depression, and this is as true for kids as it is for adults. To make it really easy on yourself, look around your house for materials your kids can use creatively. Do you have lots of cardboard boxes left around from Christmas? Encourage your kids to create a play house, knight armor, or a fence for farm animals. Do you have a lot of computer paper in the house? Teach them to make paper snowflakes. Are your kids into LEGO? Check out Brick x Brick by Adam Ward. Anything your kids can do while flexing their creativity will help them feel better and is a great self-care practice for little ones.
We all know that movement makes us, as adults feel better. What kinds of physical activity do your kids like? Try to incorporate a yoga practice before bed--Cosmic Kids has lots of free content on YouTube, and a lot of it is based on movies and stories your kids probably already know. How about dance? Check out the CD Perfectly Purple, or any other albums by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael. These songs are guaranteed to get the whole family moving!
Talking about your feelings really can make you feel better. Encourage your kids to talk about how they're feeling during difficult moments. Refusing to get dressed might be about frustration. A tantrum might be about feeling tired. Check out When Sophie's Feelings are Really, Really Hurt or any other books in the Sophie series by Molly Bang. These books discuss kids' feelings clearly and straight forwardly, and can help give kids the language to talk about the ways they're feeling.
Finally, there's nothing wrong with kids doing nothing--in fact that's a great way to recharge! Feel free to encourage your kids to snuggle up in a blanket fort and have some quiet time on their own. Or play some quiet music, turn down the lights, and have a little family chill-out time. Try not to encourage any particular activity during this time--it's not for reading, planning your day, glancing at your phone, or anything else. In fact, having some "nothing time" can be a great introduction to meditation. Check out I Am Peace by Susan Verde for a great introduction to mindfulness to share with your kids.
However you and your family choose to practice self-care, we hope you and your kids feel rejuvenated and ready to face the (hopefully) last bit of winter. Check out some more book recommendations below that fit with these themes, and enjoy spending some cozy time with your family this February.
When beginning a new self-care practice this winter, don't forget to include your kids. Check out these titles to introduce some self-care topics to your children.