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  • Writer's pictureKatie Davis, RDN, CD

Kids Need Self Compassion Too

Self defeating thoughts and comparisons start early for kids. They beat themselves up over small mistakes or failures. You might hear things like “I can’t do this,” “it’s too hard”, “I messed up again” on a daily or even hourly basis. Want to help? Try self compassion.

A powerful way to help kids develop self compassion is to model it for them. Seeing adults model self compassion helps kids learn to give themselves a break and be kinder to themselves.

For more info on what self compassion is and how to nurture it, check out this previous post.

Here are five easy ways to start modeling self compassion today:

1. Feel your feelings: Start by learning to recognize and accept your own feelings. Whatever you feel is okay. Whatever a child feels is okay too.

These games are a fun way to help kids and adults start to recognize their feelings:

2. Name it: Let kids hear you name your feelings out loud like “I feel upset..", “I feel joyful”, “I feel frustrated”, “I feel thrilled” or “I feel lonely.”

3. Breathe: Create opportunities for mindfulness. Take a few minutes as a family to practice calm breathing. It can be helpful to practice this breathing during quiet moments so you can better utilize them when anxiety or stressful events hit.

This book is filled with creative ideas like “dandelion breaths” that are useful for kids and adults:

4. Say it Outloud: Take the opportunity for children to hear you say things like, “I made a mistake at work today. I felt embarrassed. I reminded myself that it is okay to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes.”

5. Read: Read books together with powerful reminders that you are enough and kids will get the message too:

I Am Enough by Grace Byers

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doetterfield

I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont


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