5 Things You Can Do for Your Children to Encourage Self-Care

Sarah Zwiefelhofer

Educational

1. Create a Home Environment That Promotes Self-Care

A child’s home should provide warmth, comfort, and stability. Apply these tips to create a space that inspires wellness:

• Kitchen: Stock the pantry with nutritious snacks. Keep the table clear to enjoy family meals regularly. • Kids’ bedroom: Use layered lighting that can be adjusted based on activity. Designate an area for homework with supplies neatly stored but easily accessible.

• Toys and other items: External clutter brings internal chaos. Organize and label kids’ belongings for everyone’s peace of mind. • Plants: Houseplants are thought to enhance mood and reduce stress. Add kid-friendly varieties throughout your home.

2. Offer a Healthy Dose of Vitamin N(ature) Author Richard Louv coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” to describe the correlation between decreased time spent outdoors and increased behavioral issues, including sensory difficulties, poor attention spans, and inability to self-regulate. Research supports Louv’s ideas and suggests that connecting with nature can lead to improved psychological and physical outcomes.

3. Foster a Love of Learning

Children are naturally curious beings and, therefore, quite apt to learn new skills and concepts. Encourage a love of learning by following your child’s cues. Take note of his or her interests, passions, and learning styles. Accompany your child to interactive experiences. Venues such as The Children’s Museum, aquariums, zoos, science centers, and theaters offer activities and programs that engage the senses and make learning an adventure.

The road to becoming a confident, enthusiastic learner is paved with the freedom to make mistakes. Establish a growth mindset that values progress over perfection. Children who view mistakes as helpful lessons will be more willing to try something new and demonstrate persistence.

4. Let Them Be Kids

Many parents are inclined to load their children’s schedules with music lessons, tutoring, sports, and enrichment classes to help their kids get ahead in life. Unfortunately, too much structured time can actually have an adverse effect on development.

While structured play can teach valuable skills like teamwork, children need plenty of unstructured time to explore, discover and play with minimal adult interference. Free play supports physical, emotional, social, and cognitive growth.

Aim to leave one or two hours open each day for unstructured play. Avoid the temptation to set out a slew of toys. Choose a few well-made, open-ended toys that foster imagination. Before purchasing, check reviews and ratings on this free resource for families to ensure you are spending money on a quality product.

5. Spend Time as a Family Forging strong familial bonds helps children feel safe, loved, and valued. When it comes to family time, quality is more important than quantity. Unplug from devices and just enjoy being in each other’s presence. The time you spend together can create a lifetime of better health and meaningful memories.

Introducing self-care from a young age instills the importance of tending to personal well-being. This mindset will benefit your children for years to come when the pressures and responsibilities of adulthood make it more critical than ever to protect mental and physical health. Regularly engaging in various forms of self-care prepares your children to lead happy, healthy lives.

layered lighting -  https://www.roomtogrow.co.uk/blog/bedroom-lighting-ideas-for-childrens-bedrooms/

reduce stress - https://www.redfin.com/blog/a-healthy-home-is-a-happy-home-how-to-optimize-your-home-for-healthy-stress-free-living/

kid-friendly varieties -  https://balconygardenweb.com/best-houseplants-for-kids/

nature-deficit disorder -  https://www.reconnectwithnature.org/news-events/the-buzz/why-kids-need-to-spend-time-in-nature/

connecting with nature -  https://www.verywellmind.com/nature-plays-key-role-in-kids-mental-health-study-says-5204813

interactive experiences -  https://www.childrensmuseumec.com/play-space

growth mindset -  https://www.fcps.edu/blog/incorporating-growth-mindset-strategies-help-children-thrive

unstructured time -  https://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/1140089/unstructured-time-benefits-kids/

free resource for families -  https://safesmartfamily.com/

family time -  https://caribu.com/2021/11/30/what-is-quality-time/

Author: Colleen Stewart

Colleen Stewart loves giving her two kids a healthy example to live by. Her passion for community and wellness inspired her and her husband to team up with their neighbors and create a playgroup that allows the adults and their kiddos to squeeze in a workout a few times a week. She created Playdate Fitness to help inspire other mamas and papas to make their well-being a priority, and set a healthy foundation for their little ones in the process.

Dreamed of Being
Scientist
Sarah Zwiefelhofer
Chief Learning Officer (CLO)

Graduated UW-Stout in 2017, Sarah is from Fall Creek, WI and has been at the museum since 2017.