Why does self care HELP your toddler?
“When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, they need for us to share our calm, not join their chaos.”~ L.R Knost
This is one of our favourite quotes and it is often used in our consultations. It can be really difficult when you’re tired, frustrated, have an endless list of things you need to do, and your child just WONT cooperate.
Your child is not out to wind you up intentionally (despite the way it might feel sometimes!) - they aren’t born with the ability to regulate or manage their emotions. Right from birth, we are our children’s first teachers. Their emotions will mirror ours; so if you are feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated or another myriad of emotions, those are the feelings your child is taking on as well.
Have you ever noticed that if you are in a good place emotionally that your child also seems to have less meltdowns or challenges? But when things start getting tough that’s when your child’s behaviour deteriorates as well which increases your stress level?
This is why self-care is so important.
If you aren’t able to take care of your own physical and emotional needs, then you aren’t equipped to take care of your child’s. Self-care is the least selfish thing that you can do. It will make you a better parent, partner, friend, son or daughter, aunt or uncle. Your child deserves to have you at your best, so make the time to get yourself there.
We find the majority of parents are terrible for actually following through with self-care because they always put others first. Find someone to help keep you accountable! Whether its your partner, a friend, your mum, anyone who can check in on you to make sure you are taking time for yourself. There is no right or wrong way to engage in self-care – many people assume that you should be doing some sort of exercise or personal development (and if that’s something you like to do then yes!) but taking time out for self-care means doing something for yourself that you previously really enjoyed and makes you FEEL good and rejuvenated.
I am someone who tends to be paralyzed into inaction by having to come up with things to do for myself. To help others who may fall into that category, here is a list of ideas that may or may not interest you:
Read a book
Have a cup of tea and stare out of the window
Go for a walk / run
Take a zumba class (if nothing else, you will get a good sweat on and learn to laugh at yourself!)
As a friend to meet you for coffee
Take a bath
Explore essential oils and make yourself a roller for stressful times
Make jewellery (youtube has lots of videos and you can get supplies off etsy and amazon)
Make bath bombs (amazon has
Organize (This might sound strange, but if it makes you feel good then go with it! I get a lot of pleasure out of organizing and having things sorted into containers etc. When I feel anxious, I organize.)
Knitting (Again, youtube has tons of videos, your local yarn store would help you get started and often have knitting groups once a week)
Go to the gym
Go to bed early
Cook or bake
I could go on for ages, so if none of these appeal to you keep on digging! You are sure to find something soon enough.
So you have someone to keep you accountable, you have an activity that you are planning on doing (napping count’s as an activity) what is going to make it happen? The number one reason I hear for why self-care didn’t happen is because they didn’t have childcare or something happened and you didn’t get the time. So here is another list of strategies for making sure you are taking time to be the best version of you:
Make a plan and schedule it into your calendar
Make sure you have someone to take over your childcare responsibilities
Self-care isn’t as restorative if you have to be “on” in case your child wakes up, etc.
Ask Grandma to come over during nap time
Put it in your partners schedule that they are on bedtime duty
Hire a babysitter to come over
If funds are tight and you are planning on being in the home, ask a teenage neighbour to come round and play with your toddler while you take time for yourself
Do a childcare switch with a friend – look after her tot while she takes care of herself and vice versa (this also works well for date nights!)
What are some of your favourite self-care activities? Comment below to help a fellow parent out!