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Key Takeaways:

  • Self-care skills increase a child's independence, health, and sets them up for success.
  • Once they're able to follow instructions, you can start teaching them simple tasks.
  • Self-care can include hobbies, relaxation, positive thinking, and social opportunities.

When it comes to self-care, we often imagine adults taking a break from their busy lives. However, young people need it as much as we do. In fact, teaching self-care to kids as early as possible sets them up for success. It allows them to become independent, responsible, resilient, and healthy.

Below, you’ll find a list of the best self-care ideas for kids to practice daily. Depending on how old your child is, you can start with basic things like eating healthy food and saying a prayer at mealtime. And more importantly, don’t just explain a self-care strategy. Model it.

101 Self-Care Ideas for Kids

1. Go on a bike ride - If this is their first time, make sure their bike fits properly and let them wear a helmet.

2. Read a good book - Reading is a great brain exercise. Research also shows that reading aloud to kids promotes language development and strengthens your bond[*].

3. Listen to an audiobook - Audiobooks are also amazing. They develop a child’s imagination.

4. Cook a good meal - Easy recipes include sandwiches, parfaits, and chicken nuggets.

5. Draw or paint - Choose non-toxic art supplies, such as water-based paints and those made with natural ingredients.

6. Do a puzzle - Jigsaw puzzles are a fun challenge. They improve their memory and problem-solving ability.

7. Watch inspirational movies - When your child is feeling stressed, watch a light movie with them! (And have some cheese or watermelon slices as a movie snack.)

8. Drink tea or hot chocolate - Lemon ginger tea and green tea are good options.

9. Play a game with friends - Try freeze dance or “name that song”!

10. Snuggle up in a warm blanket - Weighted blankets may reduce anxiety and stress[*].

11. Meditate - Download a guided meditation app for them, such as Headspace and Stop, Breathe & Think.

12. Spend time with a friend - Play a board game, bake cookies, or make a scrapbook.

13. Go for a walk - It’s an opportunity for young people to connect with nature.

14. Make your bed - Here’s a simple chore that gives them a sense of accomplishment!

15. Eat healthy - Encourage them to choose healthy foods by making sure they’re always available.

16. Do yoga - Kids 4 years and above are able to understand instructions. You can start teaching them yoga!

17. Follow daily routines - Teach them how to get ready in the morning for school and wash their hands after they use the toilet.

18. Problem solve - You can ask them open-ended questions or present a problem and ask them to develop at least 3 solutions.

19. Share your feelings with someone - Compliment your child when they express their feelings in a healthy way.

20. Clean or organize your room/backpack - This is also an opportunity for them to focus and stay on task.

21. Save your money - Give them their own jar or piggy bank to start their savings goals!

22. Play brain games - Brain games include the Rubik’s cube and jigsaw puzzles.

23. Research a subject of interest - Interesting research topics include the solar system and dinosaurs.

24. Make a gratitude list - They can think of their favorite food, hobby, or a beautiful place they recently visited!

25. Read inspirational quotes - “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

26. Deep belly breathing - Is your child feeling anxious? This simple exercise will help them when they’re in the midst of a tantrum.

27. Stretch - Stretching exercises improve their body coordination.

28. Write notes to people you love - It’s a good writing practice and it cheers people up.

29. Go to the park - Have a picnic, too!

30. Drink a glass of water - Encourage them to choose water over sugary drinks.

31. Play with a pet - Pets offer companionship no matter your child’s mood.

32. Run around outside - Just remind them to be cautious about the heat.

33. Stargaze - Here are some stargazing tools: A sky map and a pair of binoculars.

34. Get or give a hug - Hugging promotes healing.

35. Call a friend or family member - Trusted friends and relatives can offer support when kids are feeling upset.

36. Garden - Growing your own food is rewarding.

37. Watch a favorite show - It’s something they can look forward to each day.

38. Laugh - They can do an impression of a cartoon character or do a funny dance.

39. Exercise - Make it a fun social activity!

40. Craft something - Easy crafts include collage birdhouses and princess wands.

41. Get good sleep - Have a quiet chat with them about their day and read them a bed time story to help them calm down.

42. Shower or take a bath - Make bath time fun by letting them play with their favorite toys.

43. Do something fun - Here’s a fun self-care for kids activity at home: Blow bubbles to promote relaxation.

44. Be active - Study shows that physical activity promotes their growth and development, and it builds their confidence[*].

45. Practice stress management techniques - The child’s pose (Balasana) is great for stress-relief.

46. Move your body - Do jumping jacks or run in place!

47. Take a nap - Engaging in a calm activity allows them to transition to nap time.

48. Listen to uplifting music - Positive music builds their confidence.

49. Unplug from electronics - Unplugging even for short periods helps improve their academic performance.

50. Join a club/sport - Academic, volunteering, and faith-based clubs will enable them to develop a number of skills.

51. Complete a daily to-do list - You can also make a printable list for them, which includes simple tasks like brushing their teeth and making their afternoon snack at home.

52. Forgive yourself and others - Remind them that forgiveness isn’t about being right.

53. Help others or volunteer - This can include donating their unused toys and books to other children.

54. Make self-care a priority - If self-care is a struggle, they can set a personal alarm that will serve as a reminder!

55. Be kind to yourself and others - Encourage them to always speak kind words.

56. Encourage yourself - “I am wonderfully made.”

57. Spend time in nature - Natural environments allow them to discover new things and be more curious about the world.

58. Use positive self-talk to challenge negative thoughts - “I am open and ready to learn.”

59. Use grounding techniques - Instruct them to name five things they see.

60. Focus on what you can control, let go of what you can’t - It’s a helpful reminder for kids who are struggling with feelings of disappointment.

61. Listen to instrumental music - They can play a musical instrument, too.

62. Practice self-compassion - Also, avoid being dismissive of your child’s feelings.

63. Learn new things - You can also teach them life skills!

64. Set and work toward goals - Goals can include completing their homework and following a study routine.

65. Discover your passions - Kids are naturally good at something. Knowing their strengths will help them find their passion.

66. Spend time with positive people - This can help improve their performance in school.

67. Focus on strengths and improve your weaknesses - Here’s an idea for them to try: Make an “accomplishments” box to remind themselves of the things they’ve done well.

68. Take alone time when you need it - Allowing kids to spend time by themselves can be an opportunity for them to develop new ideas.

69. Journal your thoughts/feelings - Help them brainstorm journaling ideas.

70. Write out your values - Honesty, forgiveness, and gratitude.

71. Eat three meals each day - Healthy dishes include chicken and veggie bowls and turkey meatballs.

72. Brush your teeth - Educate them about the benefits of maintaining good oral health.

73. Spend time with your family - Go on a weekend bike ride!

74. Rest - Plan a bedtime ritual together and follow it.

75. Take time to relax - Drawing and coloring are some of the best activities that will help them feel calmer.

76. Do something nice for someone - Hold the door open for someone. Wave at other kids.

77. Mindfulness - Do this 5-minute activity: Ask them to notice three nice things in their environment.

78. Get some fresh air - Spending time playing outdoors allows them to breathe fresh air.

79. Go out in the sun - There are so many activities to do under the sun. Try building an obstacle course!

80. Do a hobby - Go birdwatching or do origami.

81. Practice good hygiene - Good personal hygiene includes washing their hands, taking regular baths, and brushing their teeth.

82. Dance - Dancing is a creative way to express their emotions.

83. Swim - Make it a memorable activity by playing a water dance challenge.

84. Pray - Set aside time to pray with them as well.

85. Use positive coping skills - They can squeeze a stress ball or do journaling as an expressive outlet.

86. Maintain a positive attitude - As a parent, refrain from using negative labels and criticizing at home.

87. Practice optimism - Help them see the positive side of things. Remind them that optimism increases their chances of success.

88. Practice self-love - Also, show your child that you’re proud of them.

89. Lie outside & look for shapes in the clouds - They’ll find various shapes in cumulus clouds, such as flying saucers and fishes!

90. Smile - Smiling relaxes their bodies. Not to mention, it’s contagious!

Say positive self-care affirmations such as:

91. “I can be kind to myself.” - Teach them self-kindness habits as well, such as making a list of their accomplishments and avoiding negative self-talk.

92. “I accept and love myself.” - Let them embrace their own uniqueness and strengths.

93. “I respect myself and others.” - They can also develop a respect for others, such as saying “please” and “thank you.”

94. “I let go of what I cannot change.” - This helps kids learn to accept that things won’t always go as planned.

95. “I forgive myself for my mistakes.” - Also, they should think of their mistakes as a learning experience.

96. “I strive to get better, not perfect.” - Perfectionism increases a child’s stress levels and it can lead to mental health problems.

97. “I learn from mistakes and failures.” - Getting things wrong also has its positive side.

98. “I can do anything I put my mind to.” - This allows them to develop a growth mindset.

99. “It’s okay to ask for help when I need it.” - Kids sometimes deal with bigger problems and they should feel empowered to seek help instead of viewing it as a negative thing.

100. “One bad day does not make me a bad person.” - As they recite this, encourage them to take deep breaths until they calm down.

101. “Every day in every way, I am getting better and better.” - This will help kids avoid perfectionism and accept their flaws graciously.

Download our 101 Self-Care Ideas for Kids

Would you like a colored printable version of self-care activities for kids? You can hang it as a poster in their room and it will serve as a nice reminder to always look after their physical, mental, and emotional health. Download it here.

self care ideas for kids


  1. Duursma E, Augustyn M, Zuckerman B. Reading aloud to children: The evidence. 2008 August
  2. Bestbier L, Williams T. The Immediate Effects of Deep Pressure on Young People with Autism and Severe Intellectual Difficulties: Demonstrating Individual Differences. 2017 January 09
  3. Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School. Physical Activity and Physical Education: Relationship to Growth, Development, and Health. 2013 October 13

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