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3 Self-Care Routines for Kids

Updated: Mar 14

In the first five years of childhood, creating self-care habits is the gift that keeps on giving. As parents and caregivers, we play an important role in guiding our little ones toward independence.  


These essential routines will help your child build confidence, healthy habits and resilience to withstand challenging emotions


Collage of children: brushing teeth, reading a bedtime story, eating in a high chair, laying in the grass.

 

1. Morning and Bedtime Routines 


Little girl brushing her teeth. Little boy sleeping with teddy bear.

Establishing consistent morning and bedtime routines not only brings structure to a child's day but also creates a sense of responsibility and self-awareness. A morning routine can include simple tasks like:  


  • Washing hands  

  • Brushing teeth 

  • Getting dressed  

Structuring your bedtime routine with time to wind down instills a sense of calm for both you and your child before sleep. Your bedtime routine might involve activities like


Hot Tip: Learn how to use “box breathing” with your child to promote calm. Regardless of your little one’s age, these rituals promote self-care and contribute to your child's emotional well-being by providing a secure and predictable environment. 

Visit this link for more information on safe sleeping guidelines.  

  

2. Mealtime Independence 


Baby being fed by parent.

Encouraging your child to get involved in food preparation fosters a sense of independence and promotes healthy habits.  


Try these tasks to start


  • Setting the table 

  • Assisting in simple food prep, like mixing ingredients or building a sandwich  

  • Choosing fruits and vegetables at the grocery store 

Mealtime can also be an excellent opportunity to instill mindful eating habits by encouraging your child to:  


  • Try new foods 

  • Savor each bite 

  • Share what they like 

  • Recognize when they’re hungry and full  

By teaching these habits, you're promoting physical health and nurturing a positive relationship with food and self-awareness.  




Not all of us grew up with these skills or access to healthy food options.  

Making healthy choices is an opportunity for us to lead by example. Taking care of ourselves will trickle down to our little ones.  


Hot Tip: Try one of these healthy recipes for your next meal!  

 

3. Emotional Well-Being 


Parent meditating with baby.

The early years are important for emotional development, and teaching children how to manage big feelings sets them up for future success.  


Here are a few ways we can help our kids express their emotions:  


  • Make faces (or draw them) to show various emotions like mad, sad, happy, excited and nervousness.  

  • Provide a safe space for open communication. We can do this by telling our kids they’re safe to share.  

  • Let your child know when you’re feeling an emotion and what you plan to do about it. For example, you may say, “I’m feeling sad today, so I’m going to think of all the things that make me happy – like you!” 

  • Remind them it takes practice to know how we feel and to talk about it.  

Incorporating relaxation techniques into your routines to help manage stress can be a great way to bond.  


These simple practices can help your child manage their emotions on their own:   


  • Deep breathing and meditation exercises.

  • Create a “calm corner” with sensory items like stuffed toys and soft blankets.  

  • Encourage them to express their emotions through art and play. For example, when they feel mad, encourage them to run and jump to get their frustration out.  

Hot Tip: Take advantage of travel time! Ask your child how they feel while you’re in the car. You can even play some music based on their mood! As your little one becomes familiar with their feelings, they'll develop more self-awareness, laying the groundwork for ongoing positive mental health. 

Each child is unique, and these routines can be adapted to suit their individual needs, preferences and developmental stage. By showing your child how to create consistent self-care routines, you give them the tools to take care of themselves in the future.  

 



 

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