Self-care is a term that I hear a lot about these days, but I often dismiss it and think I tackle it another day.  Taking care of and raising children is pretty high up on my priority list but like most Moms, I am notoriously bad at taking of myself. Most parents (especially mothers) often end up last on the list with their own pets coming ahead of them in the “taken-care-of” list.  To this end, I have compiled 5 self-care lessons that we can learn from our kids.

Our interactions with our children are an opportunity for learning – for them and for you.

So let’s what can we learn from our pre-schoolers:

What do you put in their school lunch boxes.  I bet you there are a few nutritious items lurking under the lid.  So, take a cue from what you do for them.  Instead of packing only their lunches, go out and buy yourself your own lunchbox and do the same for yourself.  I wish I had learnt this lesson years ago.  It would’ve saved me many frantic moments grabbing the first thing I could from the local bakery.

Break-time and nap-time – kids take breaks at school and so should you.  Don’t feel guilty for taking a 15 minute break.  We all need breaks in between work and meetings.  Don’t believe the lie that you don’t need a break.  The Sleep Foundation says that a short nap is usually recommended (20-30 minutes) for short-term alertness. This type of rest provides significant benefit for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.   Don’t believe me, well give it a go.  I recently met a mom that told me that she used to nap in her car during her lunchtime break. One time, she heard a tapping on her window and woke up with a fright.  Her colleague had found her and wanted to know if she was ok.

You can say “NO!”.  Toddlers love to say no but I think that as we grow older we forget that little word.  Boundaries are good.  Remember that if you say ‘yes’ to something you will have to say ‘no’ to something else. And, it’s not a bad thing to say no to the endless requests from your children.

Get moving. Have you noticed how kids struggle to sit still?  Movement is in our DNA.  Get active for your own well-being.  A 10 minute walk a day has many health boosting properties.  Start exercising or keep at it.  prioritize it.  Your moods, energy, sleep and health will all improve.

Make friends – have you notice how easily young children make friends?  My one friend told me the other day that her 5 year-old had started playschool and comes home everyday declaring that he has made another friend.  The one time she asked him how that happened and he said that a girl pushed him very high on the swings.  Oh the joy of friendship!  We are social beings made for connections and friendships.

Laugh a bit more.  There are few things as delightful as hearing a toddler giggle from their belly.  Laughter triggers the release of our bodies natural feel good chemicals called endorphins.  These lovely little endorphins decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.  Laughter is good for you.

Finally, instead of reading the news and listening to all that negative talk out there, learn a lesson or two from your preschooler.


Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

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