Self care is doing things to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Everyone needs to focus on self-care, including young students. These self-care tips for middle school students might be the key to helping these students survive those tween years.
There are so many distractions for young teens at school that it can be difficult for them to focus on the important things. So many changes are happening to children during the middle years. Helping students learn to put themselves first can empower them to overcome the challenges they may face in the coming years.
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Why do kids in the middle grades need to focus on self care?
Can you remember what you learned in middle school? Chances are, you don’t. But, I bet you can remember your best friends, some outfits you wore, and the names of people who teased you, can’t you? That’s because most of that time is spent navigating all of the challenges that come with the territory. (At least that’s how it feels in a middle schooler’s mind.)
- Changing classes
- Multiple teachers
- Less structure than elementary school
- New learning formats and environments
- Pressures from friends
- Challenges with going through puberty
Adolescents should be encouraged to focus on self-care for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that students who have a self-care routine tend to experience anxiety and depression less often. Additionally, they can concentrate more and tend to be happier than students who don’t focus on self-care.
How can parents foster healthy habits in their children?
Parents can foster healthy habits in their children by doing the following things:
- Teaching basic health skills
- Talking about emotions
- Encouraging children to be active
- Spending quality time with them
- Getting outside as often as possible
- Using healthy communication practices
What are some tips to help students in the middle grades put themselves first?
It might take a few tries and some intentional effort for you to foster self-care in your middle school student. The middle years are hard for tweens for so many reasons. That’s why parents must help their children to realize their full potential and self-worth so that they understand how important it is to focus on their physical, mental, and emotional needs.
Here are some self-care tips for students:
Go to the doctor for routine exams
Health.gov recommends that teens go to the doctor for a well visit at least once a year. These visits are primarily to make sure that your teen is healthy and is developing normally. This visit is in addition to any other visits that you may schedule if your child is sick or has an injury.
Make sleep a priority.
Even though tweens may think they’re too cool for a bedtime, they still need lots of sleep. Their bodies are growing and need rest in order to develop properly. Additionally, their minds need downtime so that they can recharge and get ready for the next day’s tasks.
Encourage proper dental hygiene.
Even though you’ve spent the last several years of your adolescent’s life teaching them about proper dental hygiene, they still may try to take shortcuts from time to time. Gentle reminders to brush and floss are a good idea to ensure they take the best care possible of their teeth and gums.
If your child is especially forgetful, it might be helpful to add a morning or nighttime routine checklist in the bathroom to have a gentle reminder of tasks that they should complete in the morning and at night.
Get some exercise every day
Exercise is an important part of a developing child’s life. In addition to combating childhood obesity, exercise is critical for proper physical development.
If your child is not a fan of traditional exercise, find some play-based activities that require lots of movement. Playing basketball, jumping rope, playing hide and seek, and any other games with frequent physical activity can be very helpful for your child’s overall health and well-being.
Communicate with trusted friends and family
It can be challenging to communicate with your young student. At this age, kids might struggle to express themselves appropriately. Nonetheless, it’s important to keep conversations going with your child, so find ways to communicate with them as much as possible.
Find every opportunity to model good communication for your child to learn the importance of using their voice.
Not only should parents help their children learn how to communicate, but they should also teach them who to communicate with.
Keep a structured routine as much as possible.
Most of the time when we think about a structured schedule, we think about younger students. However, kids ages 10-13 need a structured routine, too. The middle years can be overwhelming, so to help students transition more easily, sticking to routines as much as possible is key.
Establishing morning and night routines is a great way to create healthy habits at home.
Find creative activities to do together.
Helping students discover their creative talent helps to boost their self-esteem. Try to find ways to do some creative activities together like painting, singing, writing, and playing instruments.
Doing creative, hands-on activities keeps teens engaged and helps improve their learning. It’s also a good way to find some possible hidden talents that you (or they) didn’t know that they had!
Read Next: 28 Hobbies that Reduce Stress
Maintain a balanced diet.
I know firsthand what it’s like to try to get some adolescents to eat vegetables. (Shout out to parents of picky eaters!) While it’s tough, it’s so important to find ways to incorporate healthier foods into your kids’ diet.
Try cooking different vegetables and experimenting with different seasonings to see if you can get your young teen to try (and possibly like) something new. Their bodies need the nutrients and minerals to be as healthy as possible.
Drink plenty of water
Our bodies need water to function properly. Get your child in the habit of drinking the daily recommended amount of water. Try to discourage sugary drinks that don’t provide much nutritional value.
Check out my list of drinks besides water to stay hydrated if you need other ideas to help your child meet their daily liquid intake.
Maintain appropriate hygiene
Teaching school-aged children to maintain their personal hygiene is necessary, no matter how much you’ve done it in the past. Teens go through so many changes, so their personal hygiene needs may change, too.
Placing emphasis on showering, washing hair, using deodorant, brushing your teeth, wearing clean clothes, shaving, and other hygiene needs is so important during the tween years. When kids take care of their personal hygiene, they can be more confident. Taking care of personal needs is a great self-care habit to develop at this age.
Your Teen Magazine has lots of tips for teaching personal hygiene lessons for middle schoolers students.
Historically, young students experience a lack of confidence due to the many changes that are occurring with their bodies. Finding ways to help them appreciate and love themselves during this challenging time can make such a big difference in their middle school experience.