5 self-care tips for children this Christmas.
This year has been strange by anyone’s standards, and if we’ve been feeling it as adults, it’s hard to imagine that children aren’t taking some of the stress on board too. With primary age children, who tend not to have the vocabulary or the self-awareness to talk about or even realise what they are feeling, these holidays will be a time to relax, spend time with (a limited number of) family and regroup ready for January.
At My Primary Tutor, we are very passionate about the need to teach children self-care as well as the academics, and as such, we thought that our Christmas blog should give some much-needed ideas for teaching our children self-awareness and helping them to develop a growth mindset. If you feel your child is struggling, or if you are struggling during the holidays, please don’t feel you are alone. We are here and ready to help in whatever way we can.
#1 The power of the positive.
This is a great tip for adults and children alike. Although journaling is possibly a bit beyond younger children, they can talk through their day with an adult and begin to process what’s happened. The following are some powerful questions which you can factor into your end-of-the-day routine to help your child to reflect on their day.
What did you love about today?
Was anyone kind to you? What was kind about what they said/did?
Were you kind to anyone today? How were you kind?
Did you feel upset today? Can you explain what made you feel upset? Did it get resolved?
If you have the time, you could scribe the answers into a journal for your child so they have a record of their feelings to look back on.
#2 Deal with negative feelings in a positive way.
It can be easy to unthinkingly tell our children to try and suppress their negative feelings – we were often asked to as children, and the habit can pass on. However, we now know that it is important for children’s mental health to allow them to acknowledge and deal with their negative feelings in an appropriate way – and to find strategies for dealing with them!
The first step is to be able to name a feeling. This is often better addressed ‘after the storm’ to be most productive. Ask a child – how did that situation make you feel? Can you work out why it felt that way? It’s important that children know that having negative feelings is normal and should be expected – and that we as adults give them strategies to be able to spot how they are feeling when they are ‘inside’ the feeling (this comes with time, maturity and practise) and to know a few strategies that can help them to deal with it – taking a time out, writing it down, talking it through with someone…whatever works best for them.
#3 Teach children to boost their mental health by helping someone else.
It’s well known that helping others makes us feel good. It’s harder for us to do at the moment because we aren’t as able to socially interact with others, but there are ways around it! Children are so naturally generous and caring, and helping them to understand that caring for others is caring for ourselves is a great lesson to learn.
At this time of year that could take the form of writing a letter to someone in a care home who hasn’t seen their family for a while, or choosing some of their toys to donate to a charity shop. Writing thank you letters is another good one to try for, because a handwritten letter is so universally appreciated, especially in these times when they are becoming increasingly rare.
#4 Find a mindful activity to do.
Yoga, meditation (kids are surprisingly good at it once they know how to do it), mindful colouring…it’s a great idea to find an activity for your child to do where they can be alone with their thoughts. In today’s screen-based digital society, children are less and less used to simply ‘being’ without noise or screens to distract them, and it has a huge impact on their anxiety levels.
Why not try a few different mindful activities and find one that you both enjoy – so that you can be alone together?
#5 Look after yourself!
Children learn primarily by example, so it is important that, as far as possible, you practise what you preach and show your child that you value yourself enough to practise self-care too! All of the tips we have shared today can be done alongside your child so that they see that you are benefitting from it too. It will create a shared bond which will enhance all other areas of your relationship.
My Primary Tutor would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas. We hope you have a fantastic holiday and manage to practise as much self-care as possible! Of course, we will be seeing some of you for your holiday 1:1 sessions, but to the rest of you, we will see you in the New Year, refreshed and raring to go!