Instilling good self-care habits among kids from a young age teaches them the best ways to prioritize mental and physical health. When it comes to preschoolers, the focus on self-care activities should be to help them develop independence in tasks such as bathing, eating, dressing up, cleaning, and more. While these tasks may seem mundane to adults, for kids aged between 3-5 years, they serve as a major step toward developing maturity. In this article by The Preschoolers Connect, we’ll explore the best self-care habits to teach young children.
Making the Bed
This seemingly simple task is a big step towards teaching your child the importance of organization and cleanliness. Being in a cluttered environment is one of the primary causes of stress, and after waking up, our bed is one of the untidiest places in the home. By making their bed, your child will start the day in an organized manner and learn an important habit that will instill discipline in their everyday routine.
Cleaning Up After Themselves
If there is one thing kids are experts in, it’s making a mess. But, at their age, it is important to provide them avenues to exert energy as it plays a major role in their physical and mental development. Once your child is finished with their activity, don’t let them simply walk away from the space, rather, make them clean up each time after use. This can include putting toys back in the bin, washing the brushes and palettes and putting them to dry, and more.
One of the best approaches is to transform cleaning up into a game. For instance, you can have a competition on who picks the most toys. After a few repetitions, cleaning up will become an ingrained habit that your child won’t view as a chore, but rather, as a responsibility.
Learning a Hobby
This is an activity where you’ll need to take the lead and expose your child to various activities such as dancing, music, arts and crafts, storytelling, etc. Naturally, your child will gravitate towards certain activities and partake in them daily. Hobbies serve as a great outlet for children to express their creativity and learn new skills. Additionally, it makes them aware of their interests which later in life will help them make decisions regarding degrees and jobs to pursue. As they grow older and start having more responsibilities on their plate to manage, their hobby will serve as a healthy outlet to keep stress in check.
Being Physically Active
As reported by Kids Health, pre-schoolers should engage in physical activity for at least three hours a day. Here are a few examples of structured and unstructured activities to plan for your child:
- Take them for a daily walk around the neighborhood
- Visit the local playground where they can play with their friends
- Enrolling them in sports training which can include soccer, swimming, tennis, athletics, skating, and more.
- Indoor activities such as a treasure hunt, hide-and-seek, creating an obstacle course, and more.
According to the CDC, regular physical activity plays a crucial role in a child’s overall development and provides the following benefits:
- Promotes better memory and retention resulting in higher academic performance.
- Improves cardiovascular health and develops stronger bones.
- Greatly reduces the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
- Decreases the chances of depression and promotes good mental health.
A commonality in all these habits will be the fact that you, as the parent, will need to take the initiative and serve as a great role model for your kid(s) to follow. Understandably, not all parents have the luxury to spend the whole day with their children. In such cases, the best approach is to create a schedule and reserve time daily to spend with your child. This can include spending the morning with them before going to work, taking them to the park in the evening, partnering with them to clean the home every night, or planning outdoor activities each weekend.
Every child learns at their own pace. Focus as the parent will need to be on being consistent with your actions and guide your child towards integrating good habits into their routine.