One of the great benefits of living in the modern era is the increase in mental health awareness. Self-care strategies are helping us to feel more positive, energetic, and conscientious, and this can also be true for our kids. By developing the right habits now, your children can enjoy a lifetime of improved confidence and self-esteem. 

Art

Just as with adults, a child’s mental state can be profoundly affected through involvement in the creative arts. A great way to introduce your kids to the arts is simply to provide them with tools they can use to explore – paints, plasticine, coloring pencils, and other arts and crafts supplies can all spark inspiration. Alternatively, you could enroll them in a summer camp, where they’ll be able to make new friends and will be guided through the creative process by trained experts.

Music

Bright Horizons notes that music is found to have tremendous benefits for our kids’ cognitive development. In addition to this, listening to and developing a taste for music early on can give an individual a place of respite they can retreat to or seek comfort from as they grow older. A good place to start is with a trip to the music shop – let your child play with the various instruments and choose one for themselves. You might also want to let them explore music streaming services – there are child-specific mixes developed, or you could compile a playlist of your own to help introduce them to new genres.

Sports

Organized sports aren’t just great for your child’s fitness – they can also be a formative way to learn about teamwork, socializing, and overcoming adversity. Not all children are inclined towards sports, but parents often underestimate the breadth of sports available to participate in. For example, a child who doesn’t enjoy soccer may find they really enjoy tennis.

Physical Activity

Encouraging kids to stay active doesn’t have to mean signing them up for a sport or team. Going for regular walks with the family is an easy way to get kids used to physical activity, especially if you live in a neighborhood with a good walk score. Parks, shops and restaurants are all great places to take an afternoon stroll that can be both fun and engaging for the whole family. The Better Health Channel points out that walks provide opportunities to explore new places and even make new friends, making physical activity something that can be enjoyable.
You can also include regular medical check-ups in your physical activity, partially for your own sake but also to model positive, proactive behavior for your children. This is a great way to teach them about health insurance, as well, by letting them see you shop for a provider and juggle your insurance paperwork, so they’ll have a better idea how to do these things for themselves when the time comes.

Breathing Exercises

One of the simplest and most effective ways to handle stress and anxiety is with breathing techniques. Learning to control one’s breath can help protect against panic attacks and ensure that you’re managing high-intensity situations with clarity and conviction. If you’re new to this concept, try reading about the various safe strategies and practice these so you can pass them on to your little one.

Therapy

If your child is struggling with particular issues, perhaps related to trauma, ADHD, or overwhelming anxiety, it might be necessary to seek professional support. Online therapy is a great solution for this as it can be accessed securely, privately, and without needing to travel. The right provider will present multiple licensed professionals to choose from and may offer a complimentary consultation to ensure you find the right match for your child.

Role Modeling

One of the most effective ways to teach your child appropriate self-care strategies is through role modeling how to make healthy choices. Kids will always look to their elders as a model upon which they can base their actions. Therefore, it’s in both your and your child’s interests to reduce your own anxiety, limit distractions and take positive action (especially for managers or business owners, who are more likely to struggle with burnout).

Financial Intelligence

Financial education is an integral component of ensuring overall wellness for children. Just as instilling habits of self-care from a young age equips children with tools to handle life’s challenges, introducing them to financial literacy lays the foundation for future stability. By understanding the value of money, budgeting, and saving, children are better prepared to navigate the complexities of the financial world as they grow. Moreover, early exposure to these concepts promotes responsible financial behavior, preventing potential pitfalls later in life. Thus, financial education sets the child on a trajectory towards future success.
It’s never too early to think about mental health. With patience and some key methods, you can help your child to develop independence and learn more about the ways – from exercise to managing health insurance – that we use to maintain our health and direct our emotions in times of stress.

Anya Willis is a yoga instructor and has three children. She is passionate about kids being active and healthy. As a mom, Anya understands getting kids to be active is no easy feat. She knows yoga isn’t for everyone, so she’s always scouting new ways to get kids moving to help parents keep their children healthy. Ms. Willis created Fit Kids to help parents find fitness alternatives to keep their kiddos moving.