We aren’t born with the ability to practice self-care. Human babies, of course, must have others to take care of all of their needs. As children get older and learn to take care of basic tasks, they start to learn self-care.
Some tasks will likely be learned at home, like cleaning their bodies, brushing their teeth, and going to bed at a time that allows them to get a good night’s sleep. At school, some self-care practices may be emphasized more than others, like getting daily physical activity during recess and physical education class.
Learning about nutrition might happen in both settings – at home, kids learn about the foods that their families typically eat, while at school they might learn about the different food groups. Hopefully in both settings they are learning that they should eat fruits and vegetables! In any case, kids are learning some self-care practices without even thinking about it.
As we get older, many of us lose sight of the need to practice self-care. Sure, most of us develop habits that cover the basics, like brushing our teeth and taking a shower. We all must get some amount of sleep and eat some amount of food in order for our bodies to survive. But covering the basics results in just that – survival.
In order to thrive and live to our potential, we need to go beyond the basics and pay attention to our entire being – body, mind, and spirit. Having a well-rounded self-care routine helps to accomplish this. It’s important for kids to learn this so they can develop self-care practices at a young age.
To help you help the kids that you care about learn and practice self-care, I created the Self-Care Pumpkin Patch. Hang the posters around your classroom or use them to create a bulletin board. There are 12 self-care suggestions to get you started.
Next, talk with your students about self-care routines and have each of them fill out a self-care pumpkin with some of the ways they practice self-care. Use these resources to create a a fun activity to get your kids thinking about self-care while bringing some Fall fun into the classroom.
As you talk with your students about the Self-Care Pumpkin Patch, I hope you think about your own self-care routine. Are you just covering the basics, or are you taking good care of yourself so you can thrive? Be honest with yourself. If you find areas of self-care that are lacking, see if you can add in some new self-care practices. Set an example for your students. Remember, if you don’t take care of YOU, you can’t fully take care of everyone that you love.