March is National Social Work Month, a time to reflect on the profession of social work and thank the estimated 700,000 professional social workers in the United States. The field of social work is amazing because we are taught how to apply our knowledge, skills, and values in any setting. Social workers are able to work with individuals, communities, and policy makers to impact change. Social workers are also huge advocates for self-care! During this past year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have heard more about self-care. So what is self-care and why should you consider developing a family self-care plan?
When you read the words self-care, did you immediately think of going to the spa or of getting a mani/pedi? Often we think that self-care has to be something big and over the top. Simply stated, self-care means to take care of yourself. I like to think of self-care in three ways. First, I think of the different areas of my life. For example, mind, body, spirit; or home, school, work; or professional and personal. Second, I think of what actions or activities can I do for each of those areas. Third, I think of frequency. How often do I need to engage in self-care for each of those areas?
Today, or maybe this weekend, you can do this activity at home with your kids, and they will grow in knowledge about self-care. This post has advice about how to get started, and how to tailor this activity to children of different ages. For more ideas about activities you can do while learning at home with your kids, visit the main page, Charter a Voyage of Learning.
Building a Family Self-Care Plan Together
I decided to do this activity with my family because now more than ever we need to ensure that we are taking care of ourselves and taking care of each other. COVID-19 has families spending more time together in their homes. Parents are now switching between the roles of caretaker and teacher. I asked around and my friends are so busy with the hustle and bustle of working from home, remote learning, and taking precautions to protect their families from COVID-19 that they are spent. Here are some basic ideas to get your family self-care plan started!
Self-Care Plan for Preschoolers
For young children, introduce this activity by watching a video, Sesame Street’s Grover Tries 5 Self-Care Tips. Have a family conversation and talk about what self-care is, what was each person’s favorite activity from the video, and what would like to start doing that activity at home.
After watching the video, sit together and create a family self-care plan using pictures from magazines.
Talking About Self-Care with Grade Schoolers
For children in middle grades, talk about self-care. Start by watching a read aloud of The Good Egg.
Have a family conversation about what happened to the Good Egg when he felt so much pressure, how did that physically impact him and what did he do to take care of himself. This is a great opportunity to talk about internal and external controls. For example, the Good Egg could not control the behaviors of the other eggs in the carton, but he was able to control how he responded to them. Ask your children if they can think of a few things they can and cannot control.
Then, create a family self-care plan together using fun colors.
Self-Care Knowledge for Upper Schoolers
For teens, build on their knowledge of this self-care. Talk to them about stress and areas in their lives where they may be feeling stress. Give them a blank self-care plan template (this one is from Ignacio Pacheco at Social Work Tech) and let them fill it out and see what they come up with.
Ask your teen about the choices they made. Get them talking about how they will implement their self-care plan in the future. As a family, complete a self-care plan and compare it to your teenager’s individual self-care plan. Are there any similarities or differences?
Self-Care and Mindfulness at Lighthouse Public Schools
At our school, Lighthouse Public Schools, every faculty member has completed a self-care plan. We know that the impact of COVID-19 on teachers has been tremendous. This is why our social work team meets with every teacher at least twice a month to check in and ensure their self-care plan is still working for them. During the week of April 12–16, 2021, all of the students at Lighthouse Public Schools will be creating their individual self-care plans. Our overall mission is to educate the hearts and minds of our scholars. We are firm believers that the social and emotional needs of students must be met first before learning can take place.
Read More About Making a Family Self-Care Plan and Mindfulness
- “Self care for beginners + create a self care plan,” Tune In Not Out, March 26, 2020
- “Why You Need a Self-Care Plan,” Shelly Tygielski, Mindful, February 20, 2019
- “Making a Self-Care Plan,” Ignacio Pacheco, Social Work Tech, May 25, 2011
- “What You Need to Know about School Counseling Services,” Emily Daniels and Lindsay Durham, San Antonio Charter Moms, January 28, 2021
- “Mindful Parenting: Practicing Peacefulness in Your Home,” Deborah Haddock, San Antonio Charter Moms, September 2, 2020
- “Mindfulness Moments with Yoga for Classrooms,” Paula Turner, San Antonio Charter Moms, July 20, 2020
- “The New Digital Parenting: Connections Over Conflict,” Emily Daniels and Lindsay Durham, San Antonio Charter Moms, July 9, 2020
- “Embracing Emotional Learning During a Pandemic,” Kristen Henry, San Antonio Charter Moms, June 14, 2020
- “No, Really, How Do You Feel? Helping Children and Teens Understand and Regulate Their Emotions,” Kristen Henry, San Antonio Charter Moms, June 3, 2020
- “Self Care While Staying at Home,” Lora Idol, San Antonio Charter Moms, April 6, 2020
For more ideas about activities you can do while learning at home with your kids, visit the main page, Charter a Voyage of Learning.
Charter Moms Chats
Watch Erica Martinez talk with Inga Cotton about creating a family self-care plan on Friday, March 19, 2021 at 4:00 PM Central on Facebook and YouTube.
About the Author
Erica Martinez is a master level social worker, currently working on a Ph.D. in social work who brings her expertise to Lighthouse Public Schools. She has three amazing sons, Arron, Ethan and Eric, who helped create the Martinez Family’s Self Care Plan pictured above. She misses going to lunch with friends, but enjoys connecting with friends via text to plan imaginary lunch dates.