Teaching Self-Care to Your Child Through Your Own Self-Care
A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a friend about self-care and the importance of incorporating it into daily living. As a therapist, I try my best to practice what I preach to my clients and families. Self-care is one thing that I take very seriously in my own life. When I was in graduate school, my professors made it a point to stress (“no pun intended!) the practice of self-care even though they piled on hours of assignments! Now that I’m out of graduate school and working as a professional, I see why they did what they did.
Self-care is a balance that requires mindful awareness and diligence. I’ve realized over the years that caring for others is impossible if I don’t take care of myself first. If you’ve ever been on a plane, you’ve likely heard the following safety protocol in case there’s low cabin pressure during a flight: “Please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others around you.” What a great analogy to illustrate the importance of self-care! How can you help someone else when you’re suffering? I believe the same can be said for parents practicing learning to take care of themselves, and then teaching their child how they too can value their own self-care. Here are some tips to improve self-care in your life as a parent, which you can ultimately use to improve your child’s practice of self-care as well:
Many children are overbooked with various extra-curricular activities and school events. As a result, parents can also get overbooked as they try to get their children to various activities and events, while also maintaining a household and completing tasks for work. Learn to say no to overbooking your schedule and your child’s schedule. Don’t allow others (or electronics!) to interfere with the time you set aside for yourself. All of your responsibilities will be there when you’re finished taking care of YOU. There’s only one you, so value yourself enough to set boundaries and love yourself.
Self-care is something that requires time management. Plan some time to take care of you, so that you can show up being the best version of yourself for you and your child. Sometimes I have to put a reminder in my phone to slow down and take a few deep breaths before continuing my day. Self-care doesn’t require much, but a little planning. Not sure what self-care activities to do? Check out my Pinterest board and get to planning!
Be A Good Role Model
Your children are watching you. They pick up on your good and bad habits, so make sure you model for them the good habit of self-care. Allow them to see you putting down your phone, not multi-tasking, and practicing caring for yourself. Your child’s first example of how an adult should act is in how you choose to live your life. No, you don’t have to be perfect, but make it a priority to model healthy living in your child’s presence.
Don’t Feel Guilty
Never feel bad about taking care of you! There is only one you, so treat yourself right. That way you can be there for yourself first and others second. Your children will appreciate you more when you’re healthier and attentive to them because you practice self-care.