Self-Care For Parents Of Gifted Children
I am not sure there is any doubt at this point, that self-care is a necessity in our lives as parents. (If I hear the “put your oxygen mask on first” analogy one more time, I may scream.)
The reality is that practical self-care often looks a lot different than how self-care is portrayed on social media. Add the complex set of issues associated with neurodiverse, gifted children, and self-care can often feel like an overwhelming, yet another-thing-to-do task.
The good news is, self-care is not always bubble baths and vacations. Most of the time, it’s small, practical, and intentional choices that help us maintain balance.
Here are some small, realistic examples of practical self-care for parents of gifted children.
- Going on a walk
- Listening to a podcast while doing the dishes
- Reading a book
- Going to bed early
- Hiding in the closet and eating chocolate
- Watching a show with your husband
Now, if we can just stop feeling guilty for doing them!
Why Self-Care Is Important For Our Children Too
We have an opportunity to teach our children how to develop self-care and coping skills the same way we teach almost any other topic.
It’s worth it! These skills benefit our children in a variety of ways. Decreased anxiety, increased self-confidence, and more comfortable social interactions are just a few of the benefits of self-care for our children.
Helping Our Children Develop Self-Care Strategies
These are just a few suggestions for incorporating this type of learning into our everyday lives with our children.
Modeling Self-Care Skills For Our Children
One of the best ways to help our children develop healthy self-care habits, is to model them.
This means being intentional about how we employ our own self-care and being overt in bringing their attention to it. For example, saying “I am feeling a bit low today. I am going to take a walk in the sunshine,” is far more effective than any lecture about the benefits of the sun on our moods.
Have A Plan For Your Child’s Self-Care
Whether or not your child struggles with executive functioning, they will likely need you to help them develop a plan for their own self-care.
For years, I have helped my kids pack a bag filled with items and activities to help them feel calm and centered when we are out and about. Because I helped them create this plan initially, as they have gotten older, they’ve learned to do it on their own.
Self-Care Practice Makes Perfect
It takes time for self-care and overall coping skills to develop. Please know, none of us are immune to the frustration that comes from trying to help our child, only to see them continue to struggle.
As with all social and emotional skills, our children need time, often years, to begin to feel a sense of understanding and control. Consider it practice, not a failure, when your child is not able to employ even the most well thought out plan for self-care.
Given time and practice, self-care can become an essential component of our children’s lives.
A Conversation with Colleen and Shawna All About Realistic, Real Life Self-Care
Colleen and Shawna take this episode to talk through the practical realities associated with self-care for ourselves and for our children. (Don’t miss Colleen’s story about meeting her husband in the driveway and Shawna’s son thinking her doing the dishes is somehow self-care!)
Links And Resources From Today’s Episode
- Sponsor: College For All
- The Anxiety Toolkit
- More About Shawna
- Self-Care, Self-Care Everywhere
- Mindfulness Therapy Games
- My Child Won’t Wear Socks!
- RLL #30 Andrew Peterson: Being Students of Our Children
- RLL #92: Building Self and Setting Goals with Suki Wessling
- The Learner’s Lab | A Raising Lifelong Learners Community for Gifted / 2E families
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