I’d like to think kids couldn’t care less about their bodies. My princess, for instance, is unbothered by her head full of sweat during playtime. She wears it like a crowning glory, caped with her stained back, armed with her probably germ-filled walis-tingting scepter.
Let’s not even talk about how the little ones pay no mind to what they eat. As long as it’s colorful and packaged in their favorite animated character, it goes straight to their munchers. I haven’t had the privilege of knowing a kid who is health-conscious outside a parent’s nagging.
How do we teach them to love their bodies enough to develop a sense of care for themselves at an early age? Here are some of the ways to get that self-lovin’ in them going:
Gamify self-care. Hygiene routines are part of the day, but these do not really tell much about the value of cleanliness except that it is something we require of them. By turning good grooming habits into exciting, rewarding, and relationship-building activities, we’d definitely get them on the hook!
Make handwashing before and after meals or playtime a daily milestone they should reach to earn weekend movie passes. Get creative with incentives until they are already so used to doing these routines, you won’t even need to reward them for it anymore!
Educate about healthy habits. Apart from having the children hands-on with self-care actions, teaching them about the benefits helps heaps too. Do they know why they need their veggies? What would likely happen to their health when they skip nap time?
As much as we would like to use these as scare tactics to have them do our bidding (or is it just me?), making them understand that they can achieve more by taking care of themselves will eventually pay off.
Demonstrate self-love. While there are tons of ideas we can actually do to encourage our kids to take care of themselves, nothing would speak greater volumes than them seeing us practice what we preach. Are we healthy eaters ourselves? Do we look after our physical well-being?
It’s also good to loop them in on why we act the way we do – “Nanay works out every day so I’ll be healthier and stronger. I can take care of you better then!” Once they get the selflessness behind self-care and protection, we hope we inspire them to have it as a lifestyle too!