What Is Self-Care?I admit that this topic caught me by surprise. It made me ask myself a few questions, such as What is self-care? Do I teach self-care to my daughter and how? Are self-care skills for gifted kids any different than self-care for any other child?
To me self-care really splits into caring for one’s physical needs and caring for one’s emotional needs. When our children are young, we take care of most of their physical needs and teach them to recognize their emotional needs. As they grow older, our job as parents is to shift more of physical self-care tasks to our children raising their independence and to give them the tools to manage their emotions increasing their emotional intelligence.
Physical Self-CareAs any parent, I want my child to be able to function on her own when she leaves our home. It would be sad if she were able to do advanced math but unable to balance her budget, cook, or do laundry. We make a conscious effort to teach our daughter homemaking skills. I don’t know of a better way to do that than through age-appropriate chores. This post from The Happy Housewife has a great list of age-appropriate chores for kids.
Emotional self-care is also something that we, as parents, continue to teach throughout our children’s lives, even sometimes without realizing that we are doing it. Children are watching us all the time learning how we deal with stress, worry, and overload. I believe that the best way to teach emotional self-care is through personal example, through explaining to our kids why we say “no” to things and why we say “yes”. But I am happy that we are not the only ones teaching the basics of emotional self-care to our daughter. Her school is participating in the Silicon Valley YMCA program called Project Cornerstone. This program is managed by terrific parent volunteers who chose to say “yes” to the task of helping all children and teens in Silicon Valley feel valued, respected and known. Parent volunteers and older children lead monthly activities in the classrooms that combine great children’s books with lessons on independence, positive self-talk and ability to manage one’s emotions.
Is Self-Care Different for Gifted Children?I thought about it a lot, and I don’t believe that the basic principles are different. However, there are differences in the triggers that might cause emotional swings or the ways that gifted children and/or adults choose to manage their moods. I found the work that my daughter did in one of Project Cornerstone sessions both entertaining and revealing when she wrote about the things she tells herself to feel good about herself and things she does when her “bucket” is not full:
What things could get a “gifted child” down? According to my daughter, she feels bad when she “stops thinking”. What she didn’t write about, but I start observing, is a “disconnect” between her and “the crowd”. She is still perfectly able to make friends with individual kids and has several good friends, but she dislikes group work and other group activities when she is paired up with random kids. I don’t think that she will ever be one of the “popular” kids, and sooner or later she will have to deal with the fact that she is “different”. At least she has a wide variety of ideas on how to handle negative emotions. As I expected, read topped the list, spell and do math made the list uniquely Smarty-like (she is constantly playing with numbers in her head), and eat some chocolate cracked me up. I also noticed things that are absent on her list – namely, listening to music and exercise. That gets me back to the point of parents leading by example – Smarty sees us reading, talking to each other, and, yes, eating chocolate sometimes when we are stressed, but she doesn’t see us exercising. Perhaps this will be our family resolution for 2015!
Your TurnDo you think that you effectively lead by example when it comes to teaching your kids emotional self-care?
More About Gifted ChildrenOther posts about gifted and giftedness on my blog:
- Book Series About Gifted Children
- Supporting Advanced Learners at Home (my guest home at Teach Mama)
- Selecting Books For Advanced Readers (guest post at Pragmatic Mom)
- Game Recommendations for Brainy Kids
- Friendship 101 for Smart Kids
- Back to School for Gifted Learners
- Beyond Common Core – Math for Advanced Learners
- Gifted Advocacy for Beginners
Follow Natalie Planet Smarty Pants's board Resources for Gifted Children on Pinterest.
Hoagies Gifted Blog Hop
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