If you’re looking to help your child be healthy, happy, and resilient, then teaching them to practice self-care is paramount. Here are four ways you can guide your little one to make self-care a habit, courtesy of Ivy League Kids.

1. Be a Role Model

Your child looks to you as a role model, so they’ll likely emulate the way you treat yourself and cope with stress. The most important step you can take today in teaching your young one how to practice self-care is to be a shining example of self-love. If you take excellent care of yourself mentally and physically, they’ll be more likely to follow suit.

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If you’re experiencing stress or burnout at work, this can impact your child’s self-care habits. If you’re a business owner, take extra care of yourself so that you have enough energy to balance the demands of your business and parenting duties. Delegating work-related tasks to staff whenever possible, focusing on one thing at a time to help stay calm, and addressing more pressing tasks early in the day can help you stay mentally balanced.   

2. Encourage Healthy Habits

Eating well and exercising regularly are great ways for your little one to practice self-care. Diet and exercise play a vital role in maintaining both physical and mental health. You can seamlessly weave some healthy habits into your lifestyle so that they become the norm for your child. Simple ways to encourage healthy habits include providing a handful of fresh vegetables or fruits at every snack and meal or going for brisk walks together every day. You can also check out fun fitness or yoga classes for kids and attend with them.

3. Practice Gratitude

Studies have proven that expressing gratitude has numerous benefits to a person’s psychological well-being. Invite your child to start giving thanks every day. Here are some fun ways to incorporate this into their life:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. As you’re tucking your tot in at night, have them draw or list out a few things that made them happy that day. Every weekend, review the past week’s gratitude lists. You can also check out a gratitude app, such as Gratitude, which allows users to post photos on their lists. 
  • Make thank you cards. Each week, have your youngster choose one person they’d like to thank — a preschool teacher, babysitter, grandparent, or hairdresser, for example — and then make a card for them. Not only will this make your child feel amazing, but it will also brighten someone’s day. 

4. Quiet the Mind

Meditation is the practice of focusing the mind on one object, such as a sound or breathing. Studies have shown that meditation may have dozens of benefits, including reduced feelings of anxiety and better emotional regulation. Try sitting quietly with your preschooler for a few minutes every morning before you head off to work. For guidance on how to get started, you can use an app like Insight Timer, which even has guided meditations specially designed for children. Additionally, do what you can to reduce negativity in the home, so that it can be an oasis of calm in an otherwise turbulent world.

Self-care is just as vital for kids as it is for adults. Likewise, kids learn best from example. Teaching them to take great care of themselves when they’re young can help set the tone for healthy lifelong habits. 

Ivy League Kids believes that out of school hours are an important time to enrich the lives of children to help them succeed in school and in life. We offer quality before and after school programming that focuses on fitness recreation and academic enrichment in a healthy, safe environment to all students in Kindergarten through 8th grade. Call (815) 464-1265.

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