Trust us, it's never to early to start looking after yourself! We talk a lot about the importance of wellness and self care, and the focus is usually on adults. But what about the little people in our lives?
Whether they are your own children, or the kids of friends or family members, most of us have contact with little ones on a fairly regular basis. Our focus is generally on looking after them, taking care of them, doing things for them. And in these difficult times, protecting these sweet little souls has never been more important. But how often do we focus on encouraging them to take care of themselves?
Teaching kids the basics of wellbeing from a young age is a powerful and extremely valuable gift, and one that will positively impact the rest of their lives, and it's hard to over emphasise the importance of modelling good behaviour around young ones. They look up to you, literally and figuratively - and so as a loving mum or dad, a doting aunt or uncle, or a devoted family friend, there are lots of things you can do to help lead the little angels in your lives down the pathway to wellness.
Here are our three favourite ways to encourage kids to embrace self care:
1. Move your bum
Is it every too soon to try a downward dog? We say no! Regular movement and exercise is one of the single most important things any of us can do for our bodies, and a consistent routine is essential for true wellness at any age. But exercise for kids can be so much more than a swim in the pool or a game of tips.
There is a huge range of online programs currently available to kids, from yoga and meditation to dancing, kangaroo kickboxing, crab-walking and more. Encourage them to try a few options until they find one they love - and maybe even joining in yourself, you'll be surprised how much fun it is! This great article from The New York Times sums up some great ones to try (including the very popular Joe Wicks, who has become the king of kids exercise on Youtube in the UK).
2. Eat the rainbow
Nourishing your body from within and consuming a broad and healthy range of fresh foods is truly one of the best ways to look after yourself... but there aren't many kids who will be sold on this pitch. And who could blame them? Instead, appeal to their senses and try challenging them to eat the rainbow. How many different colours can they eat in a single meal? Which different colours go together?
If you need some inspiration, the fabulous @eattherainbow_kids Instagram account is full of gorgeous ideas for brightly hued ideas that will delight even the fussiest eaters. Bonus points if you can teach them to actually make (or at least assemble) their own vibrant plate of food.
3. Get (old school) crafty
There's no doubt that screens (from phones to ipads to laptops to tvs) are an important part of modern life for all of us, so there's no point in demonising them to kids. We all spend a lot of time staring at our phones every day, so it seems a little hypocritical to tell little ones they can't do them same. But it's still important to teach them that taking a bit of time away from electrical screens will make them feel better. It's an easy way to practise self care, but it only really makes sense if you replace it with an activity that's just as fun. Cue: old school craft projects.
From finger knitting to finger painting, origami to making friendship bracelets, writing stories to pressing flowers, there are so many ways young people can learn to entertain themselves offline. Encourage them to explore their creativity, direct their own discovery pathway and develop their own method for enjoying some meditative and peaceful time out from the fast and furious buzz of our tech based lives. Learning to make their own (healthy) fun is a gift that will keep on giving...