Have you noticed your child experiencing symptoms of irritability, headaches, gastro-indigestion disturbances, depression or an increased desire to self-isolate from others? I bet you’re wondering how you can help and support them as a parent. Adolescence can be a difficult time for both children and parents. Conflicts within families can impact one’s personal health and quality of life, which makes it crucial that parents and children make a conscious effort to stay on top of their well-being and have tools in their self-care tool box. Did you know that self-care plays a significant role in supporting confidence and happiness? There are six domains to practicing self-care with kids and teens: Physical, Inspirational/Passion/Spirit, Emotional, Mental, Social and Practical (Home & School). Below are some tips and ideas for the various domains to support your child(ren) by increasing their ability to practice awareness and to engage in their own self-care practice.

Tips for each domain:

  • Physical

Good Diet/Nutrition, Get Enough Sleep, Exercise, Physical Activity/Movement, Stress Management/Relaxation, Personal Hygiene, Stretch, Drinking Water, Walk, Dance, Swim

  • Inspirational/Passion/Spirit

Discover a Passion, Identify Values, Mediation/Mindfulness, Rest, Time in Nature, Help Others, Identify a Strength, Read Inspirational Book/Quotes, Practice Gratitude, Listen to Uplifting Music, Pray

  • Emotional

Identify Positive Coping Skills, Have a Positive Attitude, Do Fun Hobbies, Laugh, Play with a Pet, Watch & Read Positive Material, Express Gratitude, Be Optimistic, Practice Forgiveness, Be Kind, Engage in Self-Love Activities, Recite Positive Affirmations

  • Mental

Learn/Try New Things, Master a New Skill, Be Creative, Take Brain Breaks, Problem Solve, Read/Write Stores, Journal, Play Brain Games, Complete School Work/Study, Solve Puzzles, Research a Subject of Interest

  • Social

Spend Time with Family & Friends, Express Empathy, Respect & Compassion, Ask for Help When Needed, Volunteer, Eat Dinner with Your Family, Invite a Friend Over, Join a Club/Sport, Be a Good Friend

  • Practical (Home & School)

Contribute to Your Home/Family/School, Clean & Organize Your Room/Backpack, Help Cook, Clean Up after Self, Learn how to Save Money, Follow a Morning/After School & Bedtime Routine

This is not an exhaustive list, just ideas to help be curious about your child with their ideas of creating their own self-care practices. Please note, their ideas of self care may change with each stage of their development. There is no one right way to practice self-care.

Bonus for parents: Be sure to practice your own self-care as a way to help your child mirror healthy self-care practices. By introducing your child to these healthy habits of caring for themselves, it helps them learn how to deal with stressors earlier in life. You know the saying, “Kids often learn more about what parents do rather than what they say!”

Written by Timara Betts, LCSW