Aside from the positive effects your targeted skin care routine can have on the appearance of your body’s largest organ, there’s a very important self-care aspect to this daily ritual. To learn more about the correlation between skin care and self-care, we reached out to board-certified plastic surgeon, SkinCeuticals ambassador,. Solhkhah noted, “Routines can create a positive level of stress that keeps us focused and may avoid some of the depression that many people may experience as a result of the COVID pandemic, isolation, fear and uncertainty.
It’s easy to forget that our daily routines of washing, dressing, and eating healthy food are all acts of self-care; steps taken to maintain or improve our physical, emotional and mental health.
Self-care also encompasses time taken socialising, ‘me time’, sport, family outings and any other activity that relaxes, refuels and reboots us.
Looking after ourselves is integral to improving our mood and reducing our stress, allowing us to be more effective parents. Instilling self-care routines in our boys can also help them to manage stress in the future.
We know if we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be able to help our loved ones. Yet, even for us, self-care can be hit and miss. How can our boys grasp this concept when we sometimes struggle with prioritising self-care?
By practising our own self-care routines, we role model to our boys that wellbeing is fundamentally important. Talking regularly about looking after ourselves, and preparing our own Mum and Dad care lists, are simple preliminary steps.
Starting boys early in setting self-care habits makes it normal and therefore easier to maintain.
The following 8 tips can help your son set up a self-care routine:
1. Make it visible
Start with a small self-care task list so progress can be easily tracked.
For younger boys, tasks could be teeth cleaning, getting dressed or hand washing before meals. For older boys, homework, downtime and bedtime schedules could be planned.
2. Encourage independence
Let your son use his own language and autonomy over his list. Give younger boys the option of drawing their lists.
3. Model the process
To start the ball rolling, transpose items from your list to his list e.g. pack lunch
4. Encourage regular upgrades
Just like apps, checklists are ever evolving, like personal growth.
5. Sleep on it
Remember that sleep is a self-care activity – it energises us.
6. Boys love routine
Remind him that evening routines mean extra time for him in the morning and allows the brain to relax at night.
7. Nobody is perfect
Show your son that we are all fallible and that self-criticism has no place in self-care.
8. There’s always a curveball
Most importantly, gentle reminders that sometimes life gets in the way of our own routines, as it may (and will) for our boys, and that is okay.
For boys to truly take on board their own self-care routine, they must be doing it for themselves for their own advantage, without the notion of reward or punishment. Having interest from mentors on how these self-care habits are evolving can help with this.
Self-care is a crucial aspect of setting up our boys for success in life. By equipping them with grounding skills for when life doesn’t go to plan, because the fact is, life can be messy.
Clear, James (2018) Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones.
Penguin Random House. penguinrandomhouse.com
Why do kids need routines?
Because routines give them a sense of security and help them develop self-discipline.
Humans are afraid of many things, but 'the unknown' edges out everything except death and public speaking for most people.
Children’s fear of the unknown includes everything from a suspicious new vegetable to a major change in their life. For better or worse, children are confronted with change daily, which is a growth opportunity, but also stressful.
The very definition of growing up is that their own bodies change on them constantly. Babies and toddlers give up pacifiers, bottles, breasts, cribs, their standing as the baby of the house. New teachers and classmates come and go every year. They tackle and learn new skills and information at an astonishing pace, from reading and crossing the street to soccer and riding a bike. Few children live in the same house during their entire childhood; most move several times, often to new cities and certainly to new neighborhoods and schools.
And few of these changes are within the child’s control.
Children, like the rest of us, handle change best if it is expected and occurs in the context of a familiar routine. A predictable routine allows children to feel safe, and to develop a sense of mastery in handling their lives. As this sense of mastery is strengthened, they can tackle larger changes: walking to school by themselves, paying for a purchase at the store, going to sleepaway camp.
Unpredictable changes – Mom called away on an unexpected business trip, a best friend moving, or more drastic, parents divorcing or a grandparent dying – erode this sense of safety and mastery and leave the child feeling anxious and less able to cope with the vicissitudes of life. Of course, many changes can't be avoided. But that's why we offer children a predictable routine as a foundation in their lives--so they can rise to the occasion to handle big changes when they need to.
While helping children feel safe and ready to take on new challenges and developmental tasks would be reason enough to offer them structure, it has another important developmental role as well. Structure and routines teach kids how to constructively manage themselves and their environments.
Kids who come from chaotic homes where belongings aren’t put away never learn that life can run more smoothly if things are organized a little. In homes where there is no set time or space to do homework, kids never learn how to sit themselves down to accomplish an unpleasant task. Kids who don’t develop basic self-care routines, from grooming to food, may find it hard to take care of themselves as young adults. Structure allows us to internalize constructive habits.
Sure, if it's imposed without sensitivity. There are times when rules are made to be broken, like staying up late to see an eclipse, or leaving the dinner dishes in the sink to play charades. But even the most creative artists start by mastering the conventions of the past, and find the pinnacle of their expression in working within the confines of specific rules.
There's no reason structure has to be oppressive. Think of it as your friend, offering the little routines and traditions that make life both easier and cozier. Not only will your kids will soak up the security, they'll internalize the ability to structure their own lives.
NO! Infants tell us what they need. We feed them when they're hungry, change them when they're wet. Over time, they learn the first step of a routine: We sleep at night. But forcing an infant to accommodate to our routine is not responsive to your infant's needs. She is not capable of adapting to yours yet. If her needs aren't met, she will simply feel as if the world is a place where her needs don't get met, so she has to resort to drama to try to meet them.
As your infant moves into babyhood, she will establish her own routine, settling into a schedule of sorts. Most babies settle into a fairly predictable pattern. We can help them with this by structuring our day around their needs, so, for instance, we make sure conditions are appropriate for her nap at the time she usually sleeps. Gradually, over time, we can respond to her natural schedule of eating and sleeping by developing a routine that works for her and for the whole family.
Routines eliminate power struggles because you aren't bossing the child around. This activity (brushing teeth, napping, turning off the TV to come to dinner) is just what we do at this time of day. The parent stops being the bad guy, and nagging is greatly reduced.
Routines help kids cooperate by reducing stress and anxiety for everyone. We all know what comes next, we get fair warning for transitions, and no one feels pushed around, or like parents are being arbitrary.
Over time, kids learn to brush their teeth, pack their backpacks, etc., without constant reminders. Kids love being in charge of themselves. This feeling increases their sense of mastery and competence. Kids who feel more independent and in charge of themselves have less need to rebel and be oppositional.
...which is an important part of making a happy accommodation with the demands of a schedule. He may want to go to the playground now, but he can learn that we always go to the playground in the afternoon, and he can look forward to it then.
Regular routines help kids get on a schedule, so that they fall asleep more easily at night.
We all know that we need to connect with our children every day, but when our focus is on moving kids through the schedule to get them to bed, we miss out on opportunities to connect. If we build little connection rituals into our routine, they become habit. Try a snuggle with each child when you first see them in the morning, or a 'recognition' ritual when you're first reunited:
'I see you with those beautiful gray eyes that I love so much!' or a naming ritual as you dry him after the bath: 'Let's dry your toes...your calf...your knee...your thigh....your penis....your belly ...'
Rituals like these slow you down and connect you on a visceral level with your child, and if you do them as just 'part of the routine' they build security as well as connection and cooperation.
If everything is a fight, parents end up settling: more TV, skip brushing teeth for tonight, etc. With a routine, parents are more likely to stick to healthy expectations for everyone in the family, because that's just the way we do things in our household. The result: a family with healthy habits, where everything runs more smoothly!
Building an evening routine for kids of different ages»
Starting a routine»
Routines & Structure that Toddlers Can Understand»
Getting Your Child Out the Door in the Morning»
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