This post was written by Anya Willis, a guest writer from www.fitkids.info
As adults, we often get caught up in the notion that we are the only ones in our household experiencing stress. This simply isn’t true, and even the youngest members of our families are not immune from stress and strain. That’s where self-care comes into play. When you teach your youngsters to be good to themselves, they will be physically and mentally able to handle whatever may lie ahead.
Here are a few tips on how to both showcase the best behaviors for your children and things they can do to decompress.
Model healthy behaviors.
When you’re working from home, and, especially with a baby, a topic discussed on The YogiRD before, stress is part of the package. Although you no longer have a commute or have to worry about packing a lunch for yourself or dealing with watercooler gossip, working from home is stressful. One great way to reduce stress yourself is to create clear boundaries while you are working. Make a schedule that everyone in your home is fully aware of and understands. These ground rules from Zenbusiness can keep you from being interrupted in the middle of a meeting or important project, which means you are able to get more done during working hours and can focus on your family when it’s time to shut your computer down.
Encourage physical activity.
Okay, so winter is getting closer, and that means less time outside for younger children. What it doesn’t mean is that your kids no longer need physical activity. The American Heart Association recognizes that working out is a great way to relieve stress. But, you can’t really put your 10-year-old on a treadmill at the local gym. Look for some indoor activities that keep the kids off of their devices. A dance party, hopscotch, balloons games, charades, or online yoga class are all great ways to keep the kids moving.
Maintain a healthy diet.
The foods we eat can make or break our mental health. Be mindful of what you eat, which begins with planning your meals in advance. You also want to organize your grocery list to make sure you have plenty of fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks available so that the kids aren’t reaching for chips and candy during the mid-afternoon energy crash. Popcorn (but not microwave popcorn), baby carrots with hummus, and mixed nuts are all excellent options.
Give them their space.
This is a hard one for parents, particularly teenagers who may be afraid that spending too much time alone is a sign of depression. In most cases, it’s not. For up-and-coming adults, spending time alone is a way to decompress and practice autonomy. It gives them a chance to focus solely on themselves instead of school, social obligations, and extracurricular activities. If you truly feel as though your teen needs to spend time with your family, get them to help you in the kitchen. Cooking together is an excellent time to bond, and, according to the Raising Teens Today blog, builds confidence, reduces stress, and, perhaps most importantly, sets the tone for healthy eating habits in adulthood.
Self-care is achieved by doing the things that make you feel good within your body and soul. And, it’s not that different for children as it is for adults. For the most part, simple steps, such as setting boundaries, exercising, eating well, and allowing for personal time are great ways to encourage your children to care for themselves. Remember, however, that your children are individuals, and the way that you unwind may be completely different from their idea of relaxation. Don’t be afraid to let them experiment with everything from art to music and everything in between. Healthy children become healthy adults, and they will remember how you made that possible.