Have you ever noticed that when you are anxious, upset, or unsettled, your little ones, even your tweens and teens are often fussy, upset, and anxious too? There is more than a little truth in this pearl of wisdom – ‘When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.’ ( You could substitute ‘Daddy’ in this old saying too.)
In a household, everyone lives within a sea of energy. Everyone’s personal aura (or energy field) overlaps and picks up information from everyone else’s energy fields.
Because of this, children sense the energy of the emotions, thoughts, and feelings you are radiating. Sensitive children may also absorb them and take them on as their own.
Children sense the mood of each person around them picking up on impatience, joy anger, fear, depression, unhappiness. In this way they are learning from the adults and other children around them.
Energy doesn’t lie! You can’t pretend to feel something you don’t feel on an energetic level in order to protect or shield your children from these emotions. If you try to put a happy face on your sadness, anger, fear, or other emotions you might not want to share, your kids will see right through that. They will be able to sense the disconnect between what they are experiencing about you and what you are communicating to them on an energetic level.
Ways to help…
If your kids are nervous, anxious, upset, fussy, first take stock of your own energy and take care of yourself. How are you feeling?
Where do you feel your emotion in your body? Is your heart tight, your throat constricted, your stomach full of butterflies, your gut unsettled? Are you nervous, anxious, stressed, unable to sit still or focus for any length of time?
Have your kids do this too. This can help them develop emotional literacy skills.
First, bring your awareness to your body and locate your emotions (throat, heart, etc). Give them loving attention while breathing deeply. If you don’t have time to do this practice, move on to some of these calming exercises and try the emotional processing when you are ready.
Do these yourself, then teach these easy exercises to your kids! They can help you calm stress and anxiety so you will be more on top of your game, more present in your body, and your children will react more peacefully to your calmer energy.
Pretend to be a tree with deep roots. Breathe in the Earth’s energy through your imaginary roots. Let it fill your feet legs hips and trunk, then reach your branches up to the sunlight. Take several deep breaths pulling the air from your deep roots to your stretching branches over head. Imagine soaking in the sunlight through your leaves to fuel your growth and pulling water up through your roots to nourish you.
Heart hold and tone:
When feeling stressed or anxious, hold your heart chakra with both palms on the center of your chest. Let your awareness drop down into your heart. Take a few deep breaths while holding your heart. Now continue holding and make an AH sound at a pitch that you can feel in your heart. Keep going until you feel a shift in your energy, or mood.
Make figure 8s with your arms, swinging them out and around and crossing the center-line of your body. Swing your hips too if you like. Draw them in the air in front of your head, your neck, your upper body, lower body, legs, feet. Make them any size you like.
for areas of pain or tension, try Tiny figure 8s directly on the body using your fingertips. you can also draw them large on a chalkboard, whiteboard or sidewalk, using your whole body and getting your arms into it. Kids love this! This also helps strengthen your aura. (Eden)
Calming head hold:
When the fight or flight response kicks in; when you feel panicky or fearful, hold your forehead with one palm, and the base of the skull with the other. Hold and breathe for several minutes until you feel calmer and able to think more clearly. (Eden)
Self hug – two variations:
Put the fingers of your right hand in your left armpit. Hold your right bicep with your left hand. Hold and breathe while for a bit until you feel a shift in your energy. Switch sides and hold again. (Levine) Another variation – hold the outside of your elbow with one hand and with the other hug your opposite side under breast level about midway between your waist and armpit. Switch and do the other side. ( Eden)
Sources: Eden,Donna; Energy Medicine: Balancing your Body’s Energies for Optimal Health, Joy and Vitality; 2008.
Levine, Peter A.; Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body; 2008.