One way to combat the stress and mental health struggles that have been brought on by the difficult past few years is to practice self-love. Helping your children have self-love can decrease their risk of having mental health issues and make them better able to handle stress and other challenges.
Tips for Teaching Self-Love
- Teach and model positive self-talk. Positive self-talk can help your children feel better about themselves, especially during hard times. Encourage them to use language such as “I can do this, ” and “Even though this is hard, I love myself and believe in myself.” Repetition of positive self-talk will help your children believe them. Let them hear your positive self-talk sometimes too.
- Praise effort, progress, and attitude instead of results of specific qualities. For example, “You’re working so hard on your school project” and “You’re getting better and better at playing the flute.” This shows them that they can love themselves no matter what instead of only if they have the best grades or if they are the best at a sport (or whatever they perceive they “need” to be to earn their own love). Give your praise sincerely and not in an over-the-top way.
- Show unconditional love. If you show your children you love them no matter what mistakes they make, they learn that they can do likewise.
- Show them that they matter. Some ways to do this include being empathetic, listening when they talk, and letting them contribute by helping with chores and inputing their opinions on family matters. Your children will have an easier time loving themselves if they feel like they matter and are important.
- Encourage them to practice self-care. Your children will be better able to have self-love when they eat healthy food, get enough exercise, get enough sleep, etc.
Don’t Forget Self-Care!
Taking care of yourself is essential, especially during the ongoing pandemic. Here are some ideas of how you can practice self-care.
- Prioritize healthy choices. This includes eating healthy food, getting adequate sleep, drinking enough water, and getting some exercise.
- Carve out some “me” time. Find a time that works best and do something just for you, whether it’s taking a bath, reading your favorite book, or working on a project.
- Cut yourself some slack. Especially during these uncertain times, don’t beat yourself up over something that doesn’t go right or get done. Instead, set some realistic expectations.
- Set boundaries. If you feel more stressed after talking with certain people, try to limit tyour talks with them. You don’t need to connect with those people right now if they’re making you feel worse.
Remember, it’s difficult to help others effectively if you have not been taken care of first.
This blog was written by Hope Squad. Hope Squad student members are trained to be aware of their peers and watch for warning signs. They learn to show empathy to their peers, listen without judgment, and reduce stigma regarding help-seeking and mental illness. Hope Squads are now in over 1,200 schools across 35 states and Canada. During the seventeen years since Timpview High School started a Hope Squad, the school has not lost a student to suicide. And as Hope Squad grows, we will continue to spread hope and save more lives. Learn more by visiting https://hopesquad.com/.