As our oldest left the bathroom his eyes welled up with tears and he broke down. Melting into my arms he sobbed that he was ready to go home. He was angry we moved, and adamantly questioned why couldn’t we see any friends or family anymore. Being inside for over five weeks and he was done. We held him, because we feel it too. Anxiety isn’t just an adult emotion, that moment reminded me this is all just as hard if not harder for our kids. Practical self care with kids is so necessary, and that moment reminded me.
Some days it’s excessive nail biting, irritability, or disengagement. We can see the byproduct in ourselves – but it’s also displaying our little ones too. There are a lot of great posts encouraging self care for adults as we navigate through this pandemic. I hope these practical tips can be just as helpful too in teaching our kids to care and process their emotions.
Practical self care is for girls and boys
I’m also writing this, because as a mom of boys I don’t believe self care is just a feminine term. It’s actually a skill I want them to be comfortable with exercising and see it as a necessity too. So regardless if you’re a boy mom or girl mom, these tips are for all kids! The goal is to help them relax a little easier and know they’re still safe even in the unknowns.
3 ways to self care for kids
1. Spa & Relax Hour: Yep! Face masks, foot rubs, favorite movie, and if you’re fancy some chocolate and fruit! I was really inspired watching some adorable mother/daughter home spa moments I figured why not? Changing up the routine and making time for intentional relaxation is really important. Though we are home, my boys are still going 100mph mentally. Showing them it’s good to rest can aid in calming down and even open up conversations.
2. Create a Journal: Sometimes if not most, it can be difficult to articulate what you’re feeling. This is usually why we “see” what our kid is feeling rather than hear it. I’m especially thankful to a friend who sent me over someways to help our oldest express himself more right now. A comic book journal has been a great tool and really fun for us! Creating characters and a storyline about our new routine is helping sort through reality. Mixing his love of art and the need to “talk” through this is creating something amazing. Writing may be your child’s new hobby that you can do together or just create space for them on their own.
Self care helps self esteem
3. Turn it ALL off and PLAY: If you find yourself watching the news regularly, having conversations about what’s happening all the time, and even complaining about online learning… I encourage you to find another space for that. Kids soak in our anxiety and try to figure out if it’s because of them somehow. And right now NONE of this is their fault. With that said, it’s also not YOURS either. The more we’ve found ourselves creating mindless messes, exploring nature, and taking time to be away from “norm” – it’s creating balance for our kids. There is still lots of life happening and kids need to see that.
Yes, even as we still keep structure, these parts of self care and family play are reminding our kids we see them and are in this together. Taking care of yourself is key, and helping kids see that is such an added bonus.
I would love to know if there are any ways you’re helping your kids navigate through this time right now! Share them, I’m always looking for new ideas.