This idea came at me literally like a bolt out of the blue. I had just posted a short and sweet video of my daughter and I doing a yoga sequence before bedtime on Instagram and typed in the hashtag #selfcareforkids. When I saw the words there, something clicked, I got goose bumps. This felt important. As an ambassador of self-care I have loved seeing my daughter’s conceptualisation and personal practice blossom and this is largely down to our chats, gentle encouragement to join me in my self-care activities and her noticing my rituals of nourishment throughout the day. Seeing that phrase on my screen made me think more about actively teaching her a toolkit tailored to her age and one that she could engage in on her own, whenever she needs some kind of nurturing. We can do more than just demonstrate and hope they pick it up by osmosis, we can teach them their own tools of self-care.
That first yoga for kids video was met with an enormous warmth and receptivity, so much so I leaped onto social media to see whether #selfcareforkids hashtag was being used much… and it isn’t. I felt so excited about this idea I suggested to my little one that this was a project we could work on together through the school holidays and that was how the @selfcareforkids Instagram and Twitter accounts were born. We’ve only been in operation for a few weeks but already the response has been overwhelmingly positive - there is a real thirst for this.
For parents who haven’t had self-care role modelled for them, this can be a wonderful way of learning and sharing with their children, by engaging in what I affectionately call ‘collective self-care’ – self-care for all the family.
I love that the ‘Self-Care for Kids’ project is creating a ritual of nourishment in our household and every post on social media has the potential to add another self-care activity to the toolkit, for us and all our followers. So far we’ve explored tips like making a mindfulness jar and starting a self-care journal – both easy, accessible and uplifting activities and we have plenty more ready to go. I love that people are engaging too with the posts and there’s a great willingness to provide support and share their own strategies – a genuine community is forming there and this is something I would like to nurture further.
At the heart of this project is the goal to empower children with the tools of self-care via mindfulness, meditation, yoga, boosting emotional literacy and emotional agility, coping strategies and stress management techniques. The exercises can be engaged in as a family for young ones or older children can follow along and build their self-care toolkit on their own. The broader aim is to encourage self-care: head, heart and body, to raise resilient and compassionate kids. There is such a need and appetite for this and I am so excited to it blossom and make a tangible, positive difference.
I am a passionate advocate of self-care after my own life experience of motherhood colliding with the terminal illness of my father.
Through my healing journey and drawing on my training as a psychologist, yoga teacher and personal trainer, I created my own framework of self-care, called the Vitality Wheel.
This is the approach I take with all my counselling and coaching clients and I am constantly amazed by the flourishing I witness when people make the commitment to actively nourishing themselves daily. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Imagine the head start we give our children by empowering them with these tools from the get go!
For those interested in hearing more about my approach to self-care and the Vitality Wheel framework, I am thrilled to announce that my first book ‘The Self-Care Revolution’ will be published by Aster on December 28th. It is available for pre-order on Amazon now. Please join the conversation at @selfcareforkids and share your gems with us! We are all in it together.
Suzy is a Chartered Psychologist specialising in wellbeing, stress management and facilitation of healthy lifestyle change. She holds a B. Psychology (Hons) degree from the University of Sydney and a M. Psychology (Organisational) degree from the University of New South Wales, Australia, is a certified yoga teacher, and a qualified personal trainer. Her coaching is informed by Positive Psychology, the Mindfulness Tradition, CBT and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. In partnership with Suzy, create your own bespoke self-care toolkit and reclaim balance, vitality and calm. She is available for wellbeing coaching via skype or for Walk & Talk sessions in Berkhamsted, Herts. Her popular ‘No More Scary Mummy’ workshop is next scheduled for October 8th and can be booked here and a new workshop ‘Motherhood: Who Am I Now?” is in the pipeline for November. Suzy is a contributing editor for Psychologies Magazine and the Psychology Expert for wellbeing brand Neom Organics.Contact Suzy via her website and join her Wellbeing Community at: Instagram: @suzyreading and @selfcareforkids, Facebook, Twitter: @suzyreading and @selfcareforkids