Responding to every need a child has is impossible, and yet it is difficult to watch a child experience any kind of difficulty. Children (and adults) have physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and relational needs.
The desire to nurture started with the birth of the child. Parents do their best to meet as many needs as they can in order to promote healthy development, and then as the child gets older the goal shifts from desiring to meet all needs to teach the child to meet their own needs: engaging in effective self-care practices.
I am going to share with you one of my favorite activities that you and your child can do together, promoting education about different types of self-care activities while setting up a tangible outlet for self-care.
The Dollar Store Self-Care Bag
Step #1) Head to a dollar store with your child and bring up the idea of self-care and how it is helpful to have tools to meet our needs as they arise.
Step #2) Describe each area of self-care to your child and let your child choose two things that they believe would help them when the need arises. If they ask you to decide for them or you feel the urge to direct their choices, pause, and then give them encouragement that you think their choice will be great.
Physical self-care: Anything that has to do with physical well being.
Kit Ideas: healthy snacks, toys that promote movement, bubble bath supplies, a fidget tool, or a back scratcher.
Emotional self-care: Naming, accepting, and expressing a wide range of emotions while not acting out towards others.
Kit ideas: a sketchbook for drawing, journal, watercolor paint, a stuffed animal for cuddling, or a blanket for snuggling.
Spiritual self-care: Whether you are religious or not, this is the act of acknowledging and contemplating our spiritual side/our existence.
Kit ideas: Nature books, religious books, or yoga-related tools.
Intellectual self-care: engaging in critical thinking and creativity.
Kit ideas: Supplies for building something, a word search book, clay, or a puzzle.
Relational self-care: healthy interactions with family, peers and potential new friends.
Kit ideas: a two-player game, nail polish to share, note cards for writing letters to loved ones, or a box of brownies to make with someone.
Step #3) Pick out a box or bag that will fit all the new self-care tools.
If you want your child to learn to take care of themselves consider trying this fun activity to give them tangible tools for self-care. Instead of trying to meet all of your child’s needs, teach them how to take care of themselves and watch them develop and learn to take ownership over their health.
Child Therapist | MA
You and your child are doing the best you can! As a child therapist work with parents and their children to help facilitate a balance between striving for success AND maintaining health and mental stability.
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Disclaimer: These writings should be considered a matter of personal opinion. They do not reflect professional advice. This medium does not lend itself to the level of detail and intimacy required to provide professional advice. If you are in need of consultation, I highly recommend you seek professional counseling. If at all possible, you should seek a reliable referral from a trusted source.
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