Child laughing and reading a book as part of self-care

How‌ ‌To‌ ‌Teach‌ ‌Self‌ ‌Care‌ ‌To‌ ‌Your‌ ‌Child‌

What is self care for children?

In today’s modern world of technology and busy schedules, self care is more important than ever before. Teaching self care to children involves simple, everyday tasks that your child can learn to do on their own to take care of their mental and physical health. These include essential life skills such as washing, dressing, eating and drinking.

Forming these healthy habits will not only help with their personal development and growth but also see them into adulthood. Self care helps children learn to become independent and ensures a good foundation for mental wellbeing in the future. It also reduces the risk of developing mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.


How to explain self care to your child

Self care helps children to identify their physical needs and proactively begin to address their emotions. Has your child assessed their own needs today? Ask your child how they are feeling and what they can do to look after themselves. If they are feeling stressed, for example, you could do a child-friendly YouTube guided meditation together. After completing the meditation, you can ask them how they are feeling again. Regularly reflecting on their emotions will teach them the value of self care.

Bathtime - toddler selfcare

It’s important to explain to your child that setting aside time to care for their body and mind is the key to a healthy, happy and long life.

If your child comes to you and asks for help with a task that they can complete independently, you can prompt them to have a go at doing it themselves. Let them know that you are still there if they cannot do it. Remember, you can always try together instead until they get the hang of it. 


Teaching your child self care skills

The best self care habits are those that are practiced regularly. Here are some different tasks that you can integrate into your child’s routine to teach them about self care.


  • Exercise

Physical health is one of the most important aspects of self care, so a great method for both children and adults is to regularly exercise. Exercise can be made fun for your child by turning it into a game. This could be a sports game, or maybe even a game like duck, duck, goose! Whatever physical activity they choose, enjoyment is the key ingredient. 


  • Going for family walks

Going on walks together can teach your child to be outside and again is a form of exercise. It’s a great way to spend quality time together away from distractions such as devices or toys.

Embracing nature and the outdoors encourages children to get in touch with their inner self. As well as creating special memories, this helps build mindfulness, insight and awareness.


  • Downtime 

As adults, we know that taking time to yourself after a busy day is important for the mind. This can be taught to children too. Downtime for your child could be something like having a book read to them or simply just resting. 

Other activities we love that teach children about self care are baking, having a dance party, drawing or painting, meditating, building a den or playing make believe. These calming activities can help encourage mindfulness.

It is important to be away from toys and devices during this time, as children can start to rely on these as their main source of entertainment. To help with this, you could try setting a time in the day where the whole family goes device-free.


  • Small everyday tasks

There are small steps which can be taken to teach your child self care, but they are arguably the most important. These everyday activities could be everything from brushing their own teeth and hair to blowing their nose or washing their own body in the bath. 

These small tasks are really how your child will learn independence. By taking care of their own bodies, they will start to feel empowered.


How to maintain self care practices

These methods of self care sound doable, but how can you implement them on a day to day basis? 

It is important to remember to be patient and reasonable as your child is learning. It’s also good for them to make mistakes during this process. Asking too much of them at once could also be overwhelming for your child. Here are some different ways to maintain self care.


  • Practice tasks together

When your child is learning to complete tasks independently, it can be helpful for them to watch you do it first. This could be something as simple as saying what you are grateful for in the morning or drinking a certain amount of water a day. Children are great at mirroring you, so this could help them learn to incorporate these healthy habits quicker.


  • Have a routine

If you decide to do some everyday tasks together, why not create a routine? Routine gives children a sense of security. This could be something like brushing your teeth together at 9am in the morning or evening reading time. This is great practice for your child and helps to establish consistency.  

Having set times for breakfast, lunch and dinner is also a great way to add structure to your child’s day. Meal times should be distraction free to emphasise the importance of fuelling the body with wholesome, healthy foods as an act of self care.


  • Use a rewards chart

If your child needs a bit of motivation to keep up with everyday tasks, a classic rewards chart will do the trick. This can also help them stick to their routine


Self care at Maryam’s Nursery

At Maryams, we know the importance of self care for our children. We practice lessons in self care every day, both mentally and physically. This is everything from ensuring our children wash their hands and brush their teeth to having ‘wind down’ sessions. If you would like any further information or have any questions, please get in touch with us here.