You might learn something about self-care if you watch how your kids act and what they do.
Even if they refuse to eat most vegetables and only want dessert, they know the secret to keeping your mind healthy.
It’s easy to neglect yourself when you’re overwhelmed with adult responsibilities. And sometimes adults feel like we don’t deserve care even from ourselves.
Here’s how kids can remind you to make yourself a priority.
Remember to Have Fun
1. Play games
You should take self-care seriously, but that doesn’t mean you have to be serious about the process.
Turn your work into a game. It can be as simple as timing yourself to beat your personal record or compete with a coworker.
Plan fun outings and activities for you and the kids. We like to play a game on the driveway with a sidewalk chalk obstacle course.
Make a game out of going to the zoo. See who can spot the animals first.
Even just sit down for a board game or a video game. My husband likes to relax at the end of the night with his favorite video games. It’s the ultimate self-care for him.
2. Enjoy good food
Take the time to make yourself good food.
I know in our hectic schedules McDonald’s can be the easiest thing to do. And sometimes you should totally indulge in some cheeseburgers and enjoy not having to cook. That’s also self-care.
Kids love a happy meal. Let yourself enjoy a grown up happy meal. But kids also like when mom or dad makes a really good dinner.
So take some time every week to make yourself a delicious meal. Try some of these toddler approved dinner ideas so your whole family can eat the same thing.
And enjoy a good dessert with your meal. Kids always want dessert. Let yourself have some ice cream, pie, cookies, or cake after dinner.
3. Sing and dance
Music relieves stress and can make mundane tasks more fun.
So sing in the shower, in the car, while you’re doing household chores. It makes folding laundry so much easier.
Dance in your office while you’re filing. I used to dance around while filing paperwork even though my coworkers thought I was crazy. It was fun though.
Make a special playlist for working, cleaning, studying, working out or just relaxing.
Spotify has pre-made playlists for every mood if you want an easy one step playlist.
Give yourself a reason to laugh. Laughter is the best medicine according to some person a long time ago. And they’re still right.
Tell a funny story to your family or friends. Or tell jokes. Getting other people to laugh can be more fulfilling than making yourself laugh.
Watch cat videos on YouTube. Read a bunch of memes. The internet is full of funny stuff to make you laugh.
Kids laugh at almost anything. Allow yourself to laugh at fart jokes and you’ll start to feel more like a kid again. Let fart jokes melt your stress away. lol
5. Go barefoot
Do your feet ache by the end of the day? Going barefoot feels liberating and strengthens your muscles.
When I was a kid I used to run around my whole neighborhood barefoot. It was so freeing.
Take off your shoes in the grass or in the sand. Let yourself feel the Earth.
You can also treat yourself to a pedicure or a foot massage. Be glamorously barefoot.
6. Try new things
What would happen if we gave up because we fell down the first few times that we tried to walk or ride a bike?
Give yourself credit for trying something new. There’s value in learning from experience.
Keep working at crocheting or drawing. It can be very rewarding to learn a craft.
Find a new hobby to enjoy. Ever tried golfing? Or rock climbing? Or painting?
Even just the novelty of trying something new can be really fun and exciting.
7. Make friends
Schedule your own playdates. I call them mom dates because I usually plan them with other moms.
Invite a new coworker out to lunch.
Have a group of moms get together for a book club. Or just over to drink wine and talk about Grey’s Anatomy.
Talk to your neighbors when you get the mail.
Kids have no problems making new friends. They find a friend wherever they go.
Connection with other people is great self-care. Especially when you really get each other and can have honest conversations.
8. Speak your mind
Kids don’t have a problem saying whatever is on their mind. If they have a thought, they will tell you.
Speaking up can be very therapeutic.
Contribute to your work meetings. Give your opinions.
Have deep conversations with your friends and family.
Getting your opinion out in the world feels good.
9. Be creative
Experiment with different kinds of art. Art is such a broad thing that there are so many ways you can create.
Kids are always looking for crayons or markers to draw. Draw with them. Color something.
Make crafts with your kids. I have a bunch of crafts you can try here.
Rediscover your love for finger painting or try something more challenging like metal crafting.
Learn more about photography and how to edit photos.
Maybe you’ll prefer writing a novel or performing stand-up comedy. Writing is an art form too.
10. Be enthusiastic
Kids are nothing but pure enthusiasm. They get excited about everything.
Do you feel awkward about showing your appreciation? Brighten someone’s day by paying them a sincere compliment.
Give yourself a round of applause for cleaning out the closet or throwing a party.
When she was two years old, I taught my daughter to say “good job, Mommy” and clap after I finished vacuuming. It was much more rewarding.
Other Things Your Kids Can Teach You About Self Care
11. Stay active
If you’re trying to push yourself to exercise, think about how kids keep moving throughout the day.
They play. It’s not a chore for them to be active.
Try playing a sport or taking a fun class like Zumba instead of just running on a treadmill.
See if there are dance classes for adults in your area. Even better if they’re mommy and me classes.
Working out will get easier if you make it a regular habit and you make it fun.
12. It’s okay to say no
A toddler’s favorite word can help you to honor your limits.
Set boundaries and enforce them.
Turn down projects that would interfere with pursuing your goals.
Say no to anything that would cause you too much physical or mental stress.
It’s okay to say no if you feel like you’d be too pressed for time.
You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with obligations to other people. It’s not healthy.
So prioritize yourself when people ask you for help or to join them.
13. Ask for help
Kids are always asking us for help. They need help tying shoes or reaching something really high. We sometimes need help too.
You can accomplish more when you’re willing to accept assistance from other people.
If you need someone to take your kids for the afternoon just to breathe for a few hours, ask your friend, your sister, or your mom.
Don’t know what your daughter needs for her dance class? Ask the teacher or another mom.
Asking for help even means hiring someone else to clean your house or ordering grocery delivery.
14. Take breaks
Adults need recess too.
Use your vacation days. You have them for a reason.
Take a break between tasks. I like to enjoy an episode of a show between each household chore I do.
Take a coffee break when you need to. You can turn your coffee into a full breakfast like this.
Allowing yourself adequate downtime reduces stress and increases your productivity.
15. Share your toys
Helping other people is one of the most effective ways to enhance your own happiness and well-being.
Share your strengths and resources generously.
Volunteer in your community and donate to worthy causes. Even if you just donate your time, you’ll feel great.
Feed the birds, pick up litter, and help your neighbors with yard work.
We have neighbors that will shovel driveways in the winter and cut grass in the summer. Everyone offers their services to help each other.
What does your child teach you about self-care?
Kids might lose their socks, but they usually remember to take care of themselves.
Blocking off some regular me time in your busy schedule will help you to feel more connected to yourself and others.