When we think of self-care, we generally think of adults. It’s really about finding balance.
What if we taught our children to have balance in their lives from a young age so they naturally took care of their health as they got older?
What if we taught them to listen to their bodies so they didn’t have to figure it out as adults?
For instance, will your child be playing catch-up with school during Spring Break? Will they be working on getting ahead on homework and projects? Or maybe they are preparing for tests?
What if Spring Break was an actual break? What if your child could unplug from school? What if they were allowed to enjoy family, friends and some quiet time?
Some parents fear their kids would get lazy or go “off-track”.
Think about it, though, aren’t you better when you are rested? Isn’t your attitude more positive when you add some time off for fun? Kids are the same.
Balance is a necessity; not a luxury. Humans are meant to work, play AND rest. With school, homework, chores, sports and community service, many children and teens do not get the needed time to rejuvenate. They don’t only lose valuable time in their childhood (which they will never get back), they also learn habits and patterns that will likely remain with them their entire life. In that case, the next generation (your grandchildren) will be raised by parents who do not have a sense of balance.
We are in an epidemic of substance abuse. We wonder why our children turn to drugs, vaping and alcohol. Teens clearly state three common reasons: (1) to stay awake, (2) to focus, and (3) to go to sleep (many don’t sleep well).
When every day is a learning curve (and it didn’t use to be that way), there is no wiggle room. You must be on your game every day. Weekends become catch up time or time for sports. Monday you start your week again, with no true break.
Some say, “Kids are young; they can handle it.” Yes, they do have youth on their side. However, lack of balance, substance abuse and stress all tend to catch up with you. Maybe not at 20 or 30, but life starts asking for repayment at ages 50, 60, 70 and beyond. Lungs will show signs of damage from smoking or vaping. The heart, brain and muscles eventually reveal damage from drug use. Organs are impacted by stress and anxiety, especially when prolonged over years. I’ve met with kindergartners who are stressed about school. Is that the life you want for your children or grandchildren?
As parents, we want our children to enjoy school and enjoy learning, but as a society we have removed the balance. When children are sick, more and more parents are asking them to push through. Why? Adult peer pressure; society.
Human bodies give clear messages when they are overtaxed. It’s a built-in mechanism that tells us to stop and regroup. Why would we teach our children to ignore that? Why would we push it aside with medication and ask them to keep moving forward? We are not thinking. We need to take a step back and realize what we are taking away from the next generation by pushing so hard. The body demands down time. We need to support our children in taking it now, so they will have quality of life in their future.
As you evaluate your child’s school schedule, homework, sports, weekends and family time, please consider what is healthy, not just what will move academic goals forward. Remember, you are creating the future for your children and grandchildren in every choice you make today. This is an opportunity to create balance and connection that will impact your family for generations. Wishing you and your family a meaningful Easter.
Traci L. Williams is the Founder of A Loving Way to Parent. She provides parenting classes, teen programs and individual coaching. She is known for her practical parenting style and can be reached directly at 951-240-1407 or firstname.lastname@example.org. www.alovingway.com