Self-Care Plan for Children

In today's fast-paced world, self-care has evolved beyond the occasional luxurious treats like expensive bubble baths, massages, and facemasks. Rather, it’s a holistic practice aimed at promoting overall and sustained health and wellbeing. In this article, we’ll explore the true essence of self-care, particularly as it relates to children, highlighting its various forms and the substantial benefits it offers. By understanding and implementing self-care routines, you can help your child develop essential life skills, build resilience, and establish healthy habits that will benefit them throughout their lives.

What is Self-Care?

Simply put, self-care is the practice of looking after yourself to promote health and wellbeing.

Self-care can often take many forms including physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual to ensure we maintain wellbeing in all aspects of our lives. Self-care can take place as a single act or as part of a routine. Not every self-care plan will look the same because as the name suggests, it’s something unique to an individual’s needs, priorities, and time.

Benefits of Self-Care for Children

Before looking at some ideas for your child’s self-care plan, here are a few benefits.

  1. Heightens Self-Awareness

Through tuning into their needs, your child can improve their self-awareness. This means that your child can recognise and understand their emotions, and in turn, better able to self-regulate.

  1. Promotes Independence

Becoming more independent is a big part of growing up! One way to support your child’s age-appropriate independence is through establishing a self-care routine to improve skills such as hygiene.

  1. Boosts Confidence

As your child gets the hang of self-care, they’ll likely develop a sense of pride in all they’re achieving. Celebrating small victories can be pivotal in boosting self-confidence at a young age.

  1. Improves Resilience

Resilience is something many parents want for their children. Fortunately, this is a skill that can be worked on, and self-care can be a part of this. Through developing coping strategies for times of stress and setbacks, children can become more resilient so that they’re able to bounce back from future ‘failures’.

  1. Establishes Healthy Habits

Starting self-care from a young age can help promote healthy habits that children can continue to build on throughout their lives. The earlier your child learns self-care skills, the more practise they’ll have to continue these habits into adulthood.

Building a Self-Care Plan

We have put the below together as some self-care suggestions, suitable for primary-school-aged children. Some of these you might want to introduce as daily forms of self-care, and others, on a weekly or monthly basis. Again, this is personal to your family’s lifestyle and as you and your child become more accustomed to new practices, you can better determine what your priorities are and tweak your routine accordingly.

Personal Hygiene

Taking care of your hygiene might be something you simply consider as part of your everyday routine. But it’s actually an example of self-care that you can begin to demonstrate to your child early on. Depending on your child’s age, you can instil personal hygiene habits such as handwashing, bathing, and teeth brushing, specifying the importance of doing so.

Morning Stretch

Stretching can be a fantastic way to start the day and a part of your child’s self-care plan. Beyond the mental benefits of reducing stress, stretching can help prevent injury, promote better posture, and help move joints through a full range of motion. It doesn’t have to take long and even just a few minutes in the morning before school can be beneficial. You can find plenty of suitable videos your child can follow on YouTube, which are under ten minutes long.

Creative Activities

Engaging in creative activities is another suggestion for your child’s self-care plan. By exploring various creative outlets, your child can achieve a sense of accomplishment and discover their capabilities. This might be writing, playing a musical instrument, painting, or taking part in nature crafts. Consider speaking to your child about what they find interesting so that they’re able to find something they really enjoy and understand the importance of incorporating this into their life.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is one component of physical self-care. For many children, movement comes naturally, but for others, it may take a bit of encouragement! Luckily, nurturing a love for physical activity in children can be done in so many different ways in order to make movement fun!

Incorporate Reading Time

Reading has a wide range of benefits for children of all ages. Beyond building vocabulary, reading can be a great way for children to relax as well as improve creativity and nurture empathy, as part of emotional self-care. One recent study showed a link between reading for pleasure early in childhood and better cognitive performance and mental wellbeing in adolescence*.

Practise Deep Breathing

This breathing technique can be one way for your child to better regulate their emotions, even when they’re not at home. Ask your child to imagine their belly is a balloon as they take a deep breath in before slowing breathing out. Their belly should expand like a balloon when they breathe in and deflate as they exhale.


As with self-care for adults, it shouldn’t only be implemented during a stressful period. Rather, teaching your child how to practise self-care can be brilliant in giving them a head start to support a healthy relationship with themselves through the rest of their childhood and beyond.

* Reading for pleasure early in childhood linked to better cognitive performance and mental wellbeing in adolescence | University of Cambridge