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Nurturing Holistic Health in Children: Beyond Physical Well-being


 

When we talk about children's health, the immediate focus often falls on physical well-being—ensuring they eat nutritious foods, get enough exercise, and have regular medical check-ups. While these aspects are undeniably important, a critical area frequently goes unnoticed: the mental and emotional health of children and, in my personal experience, energetic health, especially those under the age of ten.

 

Children in this age group are not only physically developing but are also forming the foundation of their emotional and mental landscapes. This phase is characterized by heightened sensitivity, intuitive perception, and the formation of self-concept. As parents, caregivers, and guardians, observing and understanding these dimensions from a neutral standpoint is crucial to providing genuine support rather than superficial fixes.


 

The Emotional, Mental and Energetic World of Children

 

Heightened Sensitivity and Intuitive Perception

Children are incredibly intuitive and energetically sensitive. They can pick up on the emotions and energies of their surroundings with remarkable insight. This sensitivity can be both a gift and a challenge. On one hand, it allows them to connect deeply with others and their environment; on the other, it can make them more susceptible to emotional distress and anxiety. They don't necessarily have the awareness that they have picked energy up from other people, places, etc., that impacts how they feel or behave.

 

For instance, a child may sense tension between parents even without exchanging words. This awareness can manifest as anxiety, behavioural changes, or physical symptoms like headaches or stomachaches. Recognizing this intuitive and energetic sensitivity is key to addressing their emotional health. Fundamentally, it means getting to the root cause of the problem, not labelling them as dramatic, overly sensitive, etc.

 

The Role of Free Will and Autonomy

 Free will and autonomy are fundamental aspects of a child's mental and emotional development. Children need to feel a sense of control over their lives and decisions appropriate to their age and maturity level. This autonomy fosters self-confidence, resilience, and a sense of responsibility.

 

However, in our well-intentioned efforts to guide and protect them, we might inadvertently stifle their autonomy. It's essential to strike a balance between providing guidance, allowing children to make their own choices, and forcing our opinions and how we feel something should be done to them. Encouraging them to express their thoughts and feelings and involving them in decision-making processes helps nurture their sense of autonomy, building trust, communication, and connection.


 

The Impact of Observing and Understanding

 

Observing from a Neutral Standpoint

 Observing children neutrally means watching their behaviours, listening to their words, and feeling their emotions without immediate judgment or intervention. It involves being present and attentive, offering a safe space for them to express themselves freely. This neutral observation helps us understand the underlying causes of their behaviours and emotions. It is here that we build trust and respect and make them feel safe to express those things that may seem obnoxious to us but are having a big impact on them.

 

For example, a child acting out at school may not be "misbehaving." There could be underlying issues such as feeling overwhelmed by academic pressures, experiencing bullying, or struggling with unmet emotional needs at home. And don't forget that just like it is hard for you to interact with loads of people, it is just as, if not more, energetically draining to children. By observing without judgment, we can identify and address these root causes effectively.

 

The Importance of Emotional Validation

 Children need their emotions to be acknowledged and validated. When they feel understood and accepted, it strengthens their emotional resilience and mental well-being. Dismissing their feelings with phrases like "There's nothing to be upset about" or "You're overreacting" can lead to emotional suppression and feelings of invalidation.

 

Instead, empathetic responses such as "I see you're really upset about this. Do you want to talk about it?" can make a significant difference. This approach shows their emotions are valued and respected, fostering a healthier emotional environment. Give them some space, but clearly communicate that you are here to listen when they are calm and ready to talk.


 

Practical Steps for Supporting Mental and Emotional Health

 

Creating a Safe and Supportive Environment 

A safe and supportive environment is the bedrock of a child's mental, emotional, and energetic health. This includes both the physical environment and the emotional climate at home. Consistent routines, a sense of security, and a loving atmosphere contribute significantly to their well-being. As adults, guardians, and caregivers, we also need to take care of our mental, emotional, and energetic needs to foster this safe and supportive environment.

 

Open communication is vital. Encourage children to share their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or reprimand. Active listening, where you fully focus on what the child is saying, reinforces their sense of being heard and valued. Most importantly, this isn't about you, so don't get upset when they struggle. Yes, you are their parent, guardian, and caregiver; you, too, need to build their trust and respect.

 

 

Encouraging Play and Creative Expression 

Play is an essential component of children's emotional and mental health. It allows them to express their emotions, process experiences, and explore their imagination. Creative activities such as drawing, painting, music, and storytelling can be therapeutic, providing outlets for emotional expression.

 

Engaging in play and creative activities with children also strengthens the parent-child bond and provides opportunities for observing and understanding their inner world. Twenty minutes of your undivided attention can have a massive impact.

 

 

Mindfulness and Emotional Regulation Techniques 

Teaching children mindfulness and emotional regulation techniques can empower them to manage their emotions effectively. Simple practices such as deep breathing, visualization, and mindfulness exercises can help children develop self-awareness and emotional control. In my experience, these practices are critical after a school day or a big outing.

 

For instance, guiding a child through a deep breathing exercise during a moment of distress can help them calm down and regain emotional equilibrium. These tools aid in immediate emotional regulation and equip them with lifelong skills for managing stress and emotions.

 

Create an afterschool routine where they can let go of their day so the energy they picked up and their feelings don't create unnecessary drama in the evening. Have them read a book, go for a walk, or listen to a mantra meditation. This doesn't need to be a long activity—10-30 minutes.


Here are some ideas to get them to be creative, connect with their feelings and unwind from their day:







Insight Timer Mediation App - Has amazing stories for kids to listen to and unwind.


Conclusion: Moving Beyond the Band-Aid Approach

 

Addressing children's mental, emotional and energetic health requires more than quick fixes or superficial solutions. It demands a holistic approach that recognizes and nurtures their intuitive sensitivity, respects their autonomy, and provides a supportive and validating environment.

 

As parents, caregivers, and guardians, our role is to observe, understand, and respond to their needs from a neutral and empathetic standpoint. By doing so, we can support their overall well-being and help them grow into emotionally resilient and mentally healthy individuals.

 

By embracing this comprehensive approach to health, we ensure that our children thrive not just physically but also emotionally, mentally, and energetically, laying the foundation for a balanced and fulfilling life.

 


Charity Blechinger

Holistic Wellness & Energetics Coach

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