As a parent, you teach your teen many life skills—how to cook, drive and manage money, to name a few. Another important skill you can share with your teen is self care, which is often overlooked. Here’s how you can teach them this valuable lesson with five simple steps.
1. Cultivate Awareness About How You Feel
It may seem simple, but being able to identify how you feel is foundational to taking care of yourself. If you don’t recognize when you’re tired, angry or sad, how will you know to treat yourself? Teach your teen to have mindfulness and awareness about their emotions. You can even encourage them to track how they feel by writing down their thoughts in a journal. Then they can partner activities, skills and coping mechanisms with their particular mood. That said, self care is also meant to be a preventive measure—in other words, by addressing their needs regularly, your teen will ideally avoid any serious consequences.
2. Identify Which Activities Bring You Joy and Well-being
It’s important to help your teen identify which activities bring them joy and a sense of well-being. This doesn’t mean sleep is always the answer (though it is crucial to maintain a regular sleeping schedule), but something that rejuvenates them. Maybe it’s soccer, painting, hiking or reading. Encourage your teen to write down a list of things that they can do in their unique self-care routine.
3. Take Care of Your Physical Well-Being
After you’ve taught your teen about how they can identify their emotions and find activities that bring them joy, you should also remind them that physical self care is a part of the package. Getting enough sleep, eating well, resting when they’re sick and engaging in regular exercise are all important elements of feeling healthy.
4. Know When to Say No
Knowing when to say no is crucial when taking care of yourself. Sometimes, others will unintentionally push our boundaries or burden our load but we have to be comfortable and confident in saying no when we feel it’s too much. In other words, emphasize to your teen that self care should be a priority.
5. Make a Plan and Stick to It
Finally, help your teen make a self-care plan and stick to it. They can schedule regular check-ins with you about how they feel, activities they love and how they’re maintaining physical self care. This means that you also have to treat your teen’s self care routine as a priority to demonstrate just how important it is to their overall well-being.
Feature Photo: Leonie Fahjen