Tools For Empowering Our Children
One of my favorite parts of being a life and wellness coach is the great privilege I have of showing our younger generations how incredibly powerful they are. My definition of a powerful or empowered child is one that can use their mind to create harmony, happiness and success in their lives, whatever that may mean for them. The more tools a child has in their “internal toolbox,” the more confidently and intentionally they can navigate the ever-present challenges in their life, not to mention the many scenarios in which they don’t always have control over the ultimate outcome.
Take note that the concept of modeling these activities for our children is key. Children, as we all know—whether they realize it or not—are always following our lead. The best gift that we can give them is the knowledge and understanding that they are capable enough to manage whatever may come their way by relying on their own strength. Coupled with our unwavering support, these tools are sure to bring a happier and healthier presence to their lives.
Deep breathing has the power to recalibrate our energy and calm us down in stressful situations. So frequently, we don’t pay attention to how short our breathing is and all the ways that it may be holding us back throughout the day. Our breath is our life force, and the more we tune into it and transform it, the healthier, calmer and lighter we will feel. Try this breathing exercise with your child: take a deep breath in for four seconds, hold the breath for four seconds, and deeply release the breath for four seconds. Do this for four cycles of breath, then engage your child in a dialogue about the feelings that come up after the exercise. Let the restorative feeling become a motivator to create a habit of doing this together as often as possible. The more we become aware of our breath, the more we can use it to stay in a centered and peaceful state.
Encourage your child to create and repeat positive statements as often as possible. Explain to him that we all have an inner radio station playing in our minds. Whether the radio station is one that makes us feel happy or one that makes us feel sad is completely up to us. What are the thoughts that are constantly playing in your mind? Becoming aware of them on a moment to moment basis is so helpful in creating newer, more elevating thought patterns and turning them into positive affirmations. Some of my favorite affirmations are “peace begins with me” and “every day brings new opportunities.” Remind your youngsters that when they have a negative thought they have the power to change it around to a positive thought, and then recite it to themselves throughout the day. One example would be changing “I’m bored” to “I’m open to creating fun new ways to fill my time.”
Practicing gratefulness is one of the most transformational tools that we have at our fingertips in any given moment. A grateful thought when we are feeling stuck or under stress, can completely shift our energy by placing our focus on what is good in our lives as opposed to what is not. Collaborate with your child to create a gratitude journal or a gratitude jar. Give them the opportunity to recount one thing that they are grateful for each day. This new habit will set them up to actively and consistently search for positive thoughts and experiences, ultimately giving them a more peaceful and content outlook.
Trusting Their Inner Voice
I believe that it’s paramount to teach our children to acknowledge and value their own intuition. You can help them to become acquainted with their own inner guidance system by validating their feelings and prompting them to look within for answers to some of their greatest challenges. Some thought-provoking questions that you can ask them that will help them access this inner voice are “What is your heart telling you?” or “What does your inner voice think about that?”. Learning how to honor their own thoughts and feelings will help them to develop their problem-solving skills and to feel confident in their own skin, leaving little room for the doubt, second guessing and constant need for outside guidance and validation.
Empowering our children as early as possible is a key component to setting them up for a life that is successful, healthy and above all, filled with happiness.
Written for Long Island Weekly. See the original article here.