Ideas for Military Caregiving Families to Grow in Emotional Well-being with Rosita and Elmo

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Every family is uniquely wonderful and strong. And caregiving families like yours develop new skills and strengths every day as you navigate changing roles and routines and manage the ups and downs of daily life.

Caregiving can be rewarding and challenging, too. Finding ways to help each member of your family feel valued and supported can help your whole family thrive. Here are five ideas to support your family’s emotional well-being—because caring for each other helps your whole family be as strong as you can be.

1. Celebrate one another’s unique contributions.

Your family is like a team—working together and helping one another to accomplish your goals. Young children will need your help to figure out what “helping” looks like for them.  In the book “Piece by Piece” Rosita’s Mami reminds Rosita of all the ways she helps her family, and that the most helpful thing she does (and that your child does too) is just being exactly who she is.

2. Practice self-compassion.

Patience, kindness, and self-compassion, both for themselves and toward others, can be powerful traits for caregivers, injured service members, and children, too! Our inner dialogue matters. When we speak kindly to ourselves, we tend to be kinder and more forgiving to those around us.

The article “Compassion in Daily Moments” offers tips on how to learn and practice self-compassion.

3. Play Games Together.

Remember that play is powerful! You might take a cue from Elmo and his Daddy, Louie, who use movement as a way to take care of themselves and connect with one another. Watch this video and brainstorm with your family creative—and competitive—ways to stay well, together.

4. Notice your feelings.

Caregiving responsibilities can become overwhelming at times, for both adults and children. This three-step plan can help you learn to pause and check in with yourself. Read “I Notice, I Feel, I Can,” and then check out the “I Notice, I Feel, I Can” interactive for more fun together.

5. Focus on the good.

In “What Went Well”, Rosita’s Papi shares a practice that helps him reset at the end the day. You can do this activity any time of the day—alone or together with your partner or children. Remember that even though there are hard moments and mistakes will be made, there is so much to be thankful for, to look forward to, and to celebrate.

As a caregiver, you may rarely get time alone. If that’s true for you, try inviting children to join your moments of self-care—teaching the value of mindfulness and quiet moments to them, while connecting with each other. Watch as Louie and Elmo show us how being quiet and still—even for a short time—can be meaningful.

For another fun activity (and reminder), check out the printable: You’ve got this. After coloring the picture together, you can display it somewhere everyone can get a boost every time you see it!

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