We talk a lot about self-care in my home. I fully believe that everyone needs time to recharge, including my husband, children- even my pets.
This morning my son had a rough start to the day. Jacen is always incredibly well behaved, I can count the number of times he’s been in actual trouble on one hand.. Not bad for an eight year old, but today was one of those days.
I set a rule yesterday and Jacen broke it this morning. He got himself into a spiral of anger and bad decisions. This situation called for duel treatment- punishment for past decisions, and encouraging self-care to stop future bad decisions.
Self-care is incredibly important for children. They are learning new things about their bodies and emotions every day, so time to reflect on those things can be extremely beneficial. They’re also very scheduled during the school day, often putting their own desires or interests on the back burner during class time. Self-care time is an opportunity to say “you know earlier I wanted to build my lego set, but I had school. It would make me happy to do that now.”
My eight year old son isn’t going to pop on a $20 face mask and pour a glass of wine. Sometimes self-care has to extend further than a Facebook Meme. Jacen likes to read, take naps, and do science experiments. Arielle prefers to draw, listen to music and go outside. Every child is different, but it’s a great opportunity to let THEM take the reins. I learn a lot about my kids when I stop directing them to activities, and let them ask for things instead. Even my one year old needs some time to run freely and explore between her scheduled meals and naps. Self-care is all about taking a few moments for yourself. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. It certainly doesn’t have to be an expensive facial.
Tonight Jacen is coloring cat mandalas. These coloring books are intentionally indicate to induce mindfulness. I can already see a change in his body language. He is certainly upset that his tablet has been taken away, but without his self-care time the anger of his punishment would have snowballed his bad attitude even further. Watching him color on the floor, I notice that his breathing is calm and steady, not angry and fast. The color in his face has returned to normal instead of his frustrated red. His hands hold the pencil gently instead of being clenched in rage. His body is already reflecting the change after just 30 minutes of downtime.
Taking time for ourselves isn’t limited to times of high emotions. In fact, getting in a self-care routine reduces stress, anger, and anxiety as a preventative measure. I’ve made the change of taking a few moments to myself everyday. Sometimes that means letting Anna cry it out in the pack and play while I take a shower. She’s in a safe place, it’s okay to take a break. It usually includes blogging, although not all of my first-draft rants make it to the internet. I just like being able to ink my feelings, so I can get them out of my chest. My husband likes to drive, scroll Reddit and tinker with fixing things for his self-care time. My mom drinks her tea in the morning while she reads the newspaper. My sister snuggles her labradoodles. There are limitless options, and something for everyone.
There is no age restriction for self-care time. Everyone needs it, and I’m seeing a positive change in our family dynamic as we each start to take time for ourselves regularly. I encourage you to try it out in your home. Let me know in the comments what you like to do for your self-care time!
With healthy hearts,
Kate and the Kids.