Fact: Children tend to have fewer filters than adults. When they are having a bad day or struggle with frustration — most of the time — every trusted adult within earshot knows about it. Sometimes quietly. Sometimes loudly. Sometimes accompanied by tears.
I have watched The Magical Creatures as they face the challenges of a virtual classroom. Distraction, frustration, fatigue, isolation all are present. Self-care is a vital tool in their skill set to help them get through These Days. And when they don’t get All. The. Things. their bodies and minds require — even minor challenges can overwhelm them.
Fortunately, proper application of the principles of self-care help keeps even Small Humans and Magical Creatures on a stable footing. A valuable life lesson we can all incorporate into Our Now.
Sleep. One of the very most important things we can do for ourselves. The Magical Creatures are 1000 times better able to cope with Life if they have gotten enough rest.
Nutrition. Good food, eaten on a regular schedule helps keep their minds sharp and their bodies healthy. They recognize the need for morning and afternoon snacks. As well as a good First AND Second Breakfast in true Hobbit fashion.
Water. It is their drink of choice most of the time. Though they have the option of juice or milk — usually they choose water. Adequate hydration is critical for all Humans and Magical Creatures.
Breaks. Five or ten minutes every hour or so helps keep the frustration levels manageable. For the most part, they understand, their classes never seem to end. With self-paced learning — as soon as they complete one unit another one will appear on their class schedule. My daughter wisely measures each day’s progress and allows them to see the light at the end of their respective tunnels.
Rewards. Time out of time — away from everyday responsibilities. A few hours at the park, a field trip to the aquarium, a walk with Nana — all feel-good activities that move young bodies and help them unwind their mental stress.
Time outs. When Life becomes too much — The Magical Creatures will take some time to themselves. The Oldest Magical Creature loves all things Potter and has an extensive Harry Potter Lego collection. The Middle Magical Creature will retire to her own space and lose herself in one of her many Babysitter’s Club books. The Youngest Magical Creature will pull out her princess dresses and rule gently in her Magical Kingdom.
Love. Love and support given and received in massive, bottomless quantities. The Magical Creatures can voice their need to snuggle, have a hug, sit quietly with a someone. They refill their cups over and over from the adults in their world and from each other.
By observing The Magical Creatures and encouraging early options for their self-care, I have also enhanced my ability to recognize my own self-care needs. All. The. Times. I required a bit of extra sleep, better food, more water, a break in the routine, a reward for accomplishments achieved, alone time, and most importantly — Love.