Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

How to Engender a Lifestyle of Self-Care in Children

Raising responsible, self-aware and socially conscious children starts with teaching them how to take the best care of themselves, first. Understanding the importance of well-being and self-esteem can lead to pivotal milestones as kids grow up and learn to cooperate and work with others. The golden rule of treating others as they would like to be treated begins internally. Knowing how circumstances and experiences influence a child’s perspective of what they need and want for wellness and stability helps parents teach them the priorities and principles they’ll rely on as adults.

Helping Young Children Identify Needs

It’s hard to imagine any lesson being harder than potty-training to teach toddlers and preschoolers, but emotional management and regulation are such abstract concepts that even adults can still struggle with identifying how they process stress and what they can do to ease it. It’s naturally difficult for a child’s young mind to learn how to read their own feelings and make choices that best suit maintaining a consistently balanced sense of self.

Because of this, parents can choose routines and habits that reinforce those concepts without putting such a fine point on their specifics in order to avoid confusion or frustration. Making games out of tasks designed to teach hygiene or health-related practices increases the positive associations your child can learn to have when caring for their personal needs. This helps set the foundation for engendering the importance of regular, consistent self-care routines needed as they get bigger and achieve more understanding.

Getting Kids Ready for the Real World

As they grow, children become more aware of the world around them and the external influences it presents. This can create a lot of doubt and uncertainty in relation to how they learn to value themselves by reflection. As natural as this juxtaposition may be as a part of life, children who aren’t equipped with or acquire the appropriate coping skills can develop unhealthy habits or behaviors that might become increasingly difficult to correct.

Providing children opportunities to safely express their feelings and helping them examine related causes and effects helps them understand there’s a difference between respecting personal feelings and being responsible for the choices they make. Teaching them to take time to evaluate their moods and response to challenges creates the internal space they may need to be more self-sufficient and emotionally stable individuals.

Self-Care Lessons for Homeschooling

This is a very important thing to consider. A K-12 homeschool curriculum offers parents unique opportunities to teach these concepts in-depth and fully personalized to their family’s needs. Personal health and self-care lessons designed for public communities or larger classes must work with generalities and often aren’t able to accommodate difficult questions or special needs.

Keeping charts for goals and lists of achievements would be helpful steps for anyone, but those who choose to homeschool often rely on clearly outlined systems to stay organized and effectively educate their family. For those just getting started, evaluating existing patterns and preferences is the first step towards building a family database of practices that increase well-being and promote personal growth.

Learning and Growing through Independence

Children who can participate in their own record-keeping and scheduling may find it easier to maintain similar habits as they mature. When the process of self-soothing and self-reliance is perceived as both simple and useful, it can sustain interest at any age. Practicing techniques that increase mindfulness can include trial and error as personalities change through developmental stages.

A rotation of external and internal tactics for identifying needs or preferences is key to keeping a child’s growing mind engaged with the ever-changing ideas regarding self-care. Learning to listen to their inner self can extend to how they cope with challenges and work with others in the future. Lessons like these can start at any age and last a lifetime.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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Thank you so much to @ChristianBros Highlands Ranch, Arapahoe Road, and Ken Caryl for helping our clients last weekend, they took care of so many ailing hearts and sick vehicles. Though the hope they gave, lives were changed. We so appreciate your support of IFCS year-round!

Sarah &Javon, Arapahoe Community College Dean of Students sharing excitement for the Food Bank. We visited last week to learn more about the school's programs for students in need and to explore opportunities for collaboration.

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