Why It’s Okay to Put Yourself First: Parent’s Guide to Self-Care

Mother playing with child

May 9, 2023

With Mother’s day this month and Father’s day next month, what better time than now to recognize all you do.

Every day, parents work hard to fulfill several roles in their children’s lives from nurturing and caring for their children to providing them with the support they need. However, it’s just as important that parents like you remember to also take care of themselves so they can be their best selves for themselves and their children.

More times than not, parents focus so much of their attention on their children that they do not have time for themselves. But by eating well, sleeping enough and finding ways to meet their personal needs, parents can be better able to care for their children and fulfill other duties.

What is self-care?

Self-care is checking in with oneself physically, mentally, as well as emotionally. Just like how no person is exactly the same, self-care does not appear the same for everyone. There are different practices that different people adopt to achieve self-care. These habits or actions of self-care even tend to change over time. Therefore, while the self-care practices themselves may change, the idea of practicing self-care should remain the same as it allows you to put your best foot forward. 

Why is it important?

1. Prioritizing your self-care can help with handling stress. 

As you can’t always always control how stress affects your life or what will be a stressor,  it is important that you know how you can best deal with these stressors. Self-care plays an essential role in responding to uncertain or stressful times in our lives. 

2. Self-care helps you be the best version of yourself.

When you take care of yourself, it can create a better environment for your children to feel cared for as well. You’re more likely to be the kind of parent you want to be if you practice self-care, meaning you can be more patient, more present and more loving daily. 

3. How you treat yourself sets an example for your kids.

Your children can learn important lessons from you in how they see you deal with stressful situations, taxing situations and even good situations. Each moment provides them with more knowledge on how to respond to certain situations in their own lives when they come up. They can sense if you are tired or stressed, you may even notice that their emotions begin to mimic your own. Due to this, it’s even more important that you take self-care seriously as it will not only impact your life tremendously but also can show your child the importance of it from a young age.

How to teach self-care to your children

The best way to teach your children about self-care is by demonstrating it. It’s no secret that children learn from those around them. If parents develop self-care habits children are likely to do the same. Practicing self-care can show your children how to react to challenging situations and also help in empathy development. 

If you’re interested in teaching your child more about self-care check out the self-care jar activity we’ve created that proposes ideas of typical self-care habits to incorporate into your life. Take the time to explain to them the impact that these things can have on your day to day lives and how it’s crucial to take care of yourself. Check out our self-care jar activity here!

In need of some ideas for how you can practice self-care?

Create a self care routine! You and your child can create your own self-care routines by first determining what activities bring you joy, replenish your energy, and restore your balance. Be sure to start small, pick something that you can incorporate into  your routine in the next week. Build up to practicing this behavior daily and reflect on how it makes you feel. Not sure where to start? Some common self-care practices include journaling, meditating, eating breakfast, reflecting on what you’re grateful for daily, taking up a relaxing hobby,  or going for a walk.  

Journaling is a great way to reflect and capture a few lines of memory of your day. This does not have to be lengthy journal entries, it can be simply a line or two of reflection for the day! Whether it was a good day or a bad day, journaling allows you to write down how you feel and work through some of the emotions and situations that occurred. This is also a great source of endorphins as you can read through some of the good memories of previous days or years when you’re feeling down! 

Turning on some music is a great way to get the endorphins going as music is so powerful that it can even begin to change your mood. Create a playlist for each mood – one to relax, one to energize etc. This is also a fun way to spread the joy and self-care practices with your child by having a dance party with them to lift up everyone’s moods! 

Going outside for a walk is a great way to alleviate stress and also keep you healthy. If you’re stuck inside and cannot go for a walk, try doing some body-weight exercises to get moving. This can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed, reducing stress. Movement can also help you fall asleep which is another great way to practice self-care. Getting enough sleep sounds simple but it can have a huge impact on your life as it can help you recover, maximize your productivity and concentration for the next day and so much more. 

Remember that practicing self-care is not selfish! It allows you to be the best version of yourself.

If you’re looking for some additional fun STEAM activities that you could do with your child check out the activities on theyounginventorsclub.com – not only is there a dashboard filled with great activities but every month new blog posts are released with even further content!