When you’re a parent, your child’s eyes are on you from the moment they first open. As they grow, they watch you even closer. You’re “it” – from mimicking sounds to copying physical activities and social interactions. You’re their role model. They want to be just like you.
They will likely learn how to take care of themselves based on how you take care of yourself, so it’s important to set a good example of healthy self-care. How can you set a shining example for your children by practicing self-care? Here are some ways you can show your children what good self-care means.
1. Be Active
After a long day of working or taking care of your family, it can be easy to become a couch potato. We all need some time to relax on the couch and watch our favorite TV show. But exercise is just as important as down time, if not more.
If you don’t have time in your schedule to go to the gym or go for a run, try throwing yourself a little dance party wherever you are. Crank up some jams and just start moving.
There are so many benefits to dancing. It gets your blood pumping and some serotonin flowing and is likely to boost your mood. It’s also an excellent way for kids to learn how to communicate with their bodies since movement appeals to deeper feelings than language can.
Incorporating exercise into your routine is a great way to stay healthy and lower your risk for illness. It doesn’t have to be extensive unless you want it to be. Do whatever feels good for you. Push yourself to your limit. Take a light jog to clear your head. Walk your dog if it tickles your fancy. And have your kids join in the fun as much as possible.
2. Eat Healthier
Eating healthy has significant benefits across the board. It helps you sustain energy, promotes brain function, and can help you stay in shape. Kids learn by example, so if they see you eating junk food all the time, they’ll do the same.
Be sure to remember to practice what you preach. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with comfort foods. Just ensure you draw a line at self-indulgence. Show your kids appropriate ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle without unrealistic or harmful restrictions.
Try cooking balanced dinners as often as possible, complete with vegetables, grains and protein. Kids are sometimes hesitant to try new foods, like greens or seafood, but it’s important to introduce them to healthy foods full of vitamins, omega-3s and more. Involve them in the cooking process to make it a fun experience.
3. Encourage Mental Health Days
If you feel yourself becoming burnt out with work or home life, don’t be afraid to take a mental health day. Use one just to relax and do things that make you happy. That day to yourself will energize you when you return to work or household chores.
When you see your child struggling with their mental health, give them the same space to take a break. While we don’t want to teach our kids to give up or skip school every time things are hard, it is important to teach them to know their limits so they don’t push themselves too far.
Maybe it’s a Saturday and you have errands, school functions and sports practices on the schedule. After a long, stressful work week, it can be good sometimes to clear your schedule one day and take a family mental health day. What should you do instead? Be present together by turning your phones off, exercising and taking part in your favorite hobbies. By Monday, you’ll all be ready to take on a new week.
4. Set Healthy Boundaries
Another way to take care of your mental health is to set healthy boundaries. Learn how to say “no” when it doesn’t serve you, without feeling remorseful. Stretching yourself too thin might benefit others, but it will hurt you in the long run. Helping others can be a form of self-care. Supporting fellow moms, especially, can make you feel good. Don’t stretch yourself thin by allowing too much that you forget to help yourself in the process.
It takes a village, but make sure to prioritize your needs first. You must remember to do what is best for you in any given situation. This is particularly difficult for moms. Doing what is best for our kids is our top priority, as it should be. However, what’s best for you will often align with what is best for your children. You just have to find that healthy balance.
5. Stay Hydrated
It sounds so simple, but drinking water has the potential to solve so many problems. It is our go-to remedy in our house. Have a headache? Drink some water. Are you feeling weak? Drink some water.
Being dehydrated is common, especially among teens consuming energy drinks or anything with high levels of caffeine. Without the proper amount of hydration, you can become dizzy or pass out. This could lead to dangerous accidents, depending on how and where you fall. Dehydration can also cause nausea and vomiting, in severe cases. If you’re a caffeine or diet soda addict, your kids might fall down the same path.
While it’s a little different for everyone based on many factors, you should generally aim for eight glasses of water a day. Encourage your kids to stay hydrated by drinking water and eating fruits like watermelon that contain a lot of water to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Don’t Forget to Refuel Yourself
It’s important to keep your tank full when you’re a mom. When you start to feel overwhelmed or triggered, take a deep breath and choose a self-care activity that you can put into practice to refuel. You don’t want your children to feel the same stress and burnout that you often experience. That’s why you need to be the best example of self-care for them to learn from. You got this!
Tell us how you teach your children to practice self-care in the comments!
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