It was Mother’s Day weekend and mine, like all mom’s everywhere, was totally hectic and full of activity and slightly organized chaos.
And I loved it.
My firstborn child, my daughter, love of my life, is headed off to college at the end of this summer… so you better believe I am just soaking in every second.
Today, in honor of mothers, parents, grandparents, stepparents, guardians and caretakers everywhere, I want to share with you 9 things you can do to boost the health of your children… protecting their wellness for a lifetime.
9 Ways to Support Your Child’s Healing:
Nothing triggers more of our fears, as parents, than watching our children suffer.
Illness has a way of removing — in one instant — everything that is a distraction in life and distills it all down into the *real deal* — the reason you are upon this earth in the first place.
Everything else falls away.
No more distractions.
The meaningful surfaces.
In some ways, facing a crisis together with your child is the ultimate form of healing for you both, as you uncover what it is that you deeply fear and you reveal it, release it, layer by layer together you find ways to grow closer and closer leaning into the unknown.
The truth is, trusting in life’s unknowable process, in the journey, in the unfolding is healing in and of its-self.
And while there are lots of things we can do to support health and healing, it’s really important to start off right away deeply *knowing* that underneath it all… there is meaning and value in what you are going through, and you can model this to your child.
Each medical decision you make or each pain you comfort your child through or each fear you embrace together and release together or each night you help them fall asleep — each of it has a deeper value than just the passing of time.
Let’s give our children lots and lots of resources to find inner strength during health challenges… because setting an example of resilience during a crisis for your children NOW will benefit them for the rest of their lives, during times when you may not be there to help.
Modeling resilience now will support them forever.
So here are 9 tangible ways to transform the hurt and the fear and the hugeness of illness for children and provide room for comfort, safety and hope:
Play is a child’s therapy. Play is not only a relief and a respite from the seriousness that illness, trauma and disease brings abruptly into a child’s world, but it is a way to restore innocence. It’s a way to off-gas and release inner workings and thoughts and fears that the child doesn’t even consciously know they have yet!
Play is an avenue for healing.
Encourage play. Allow *inappropriate* play like laughter even on the saddest days, violent actions towards dolls and stuffed animals that might otherwise be macabre… during a crisis, children need to see that their favorite toys can get beaten down by life and still be there for them the next day.
Allow anger too — anger expressed can turn your child into a centered warrior, giving them inner strength when the anger is witnessed and allowed to flow — transforming a passive child desperately struggling to release fear into an empowered warrior ready for the next round.
As adults, we might find our way through illness by taking long showers or baths, working out until we reach pure physical exhaustion, crying until there are no tears left, praying and therapy and acupuncture and massage and millions of other ways…
For a child, the direct route to this is through play.
Focus on POSSIBILITY for your child.
Illness, trauma, death, divorce… these outer circumstances may take certain choices away from your child and leave them with a feeling of not having any control over the situation. This results in DISEMPOWERMENT.
Disempowerment and lack of control is what makes serious illness so hard.
Sometimes it is not possible to give a promise or control outcomes in order to empower a child. Even if you can offer a choice or secure a certain outcome, this is only temporary relief anyway, because there will always be another crisis.
The healing won’t come from getting control back — control is (at best) an illusion.
The healing comes from re-establishing POSSIBILITY!!!
Finding meaning, and even joy, by living in possibility and open ended wonderment is the healing mind-frame.
Not the answer… the question. The questions are the healing.
“What is possible?”
“What can I imagine?”
“What do I wonder?”
“What can I transform?”
Re-establishing possibility and open ended thinking re-establishes health because it brings back HOPE.
Asking more then answering the questions in your life. Asking “I wonder?”. Can you think of the last day you spent asking more questions then answering questions?
For many of us, that day was way back in our childhood.
Keep this realm of possibility open for your child.
Keep the potential of any and every healing outcome within reach to your child by staying open to possibility.
3. Remind your child that they are a miracle.
“The child must know that they are a miracle… that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been… and until the end of the world there will not be, another like them.”
I believe that with my whole heart, and I believe that is true for my children and that it is true for your children and that it is true for YOU.
And with that truth comes the knowing that each moment of your existence is precious and rare and VALUABLE.
Remind your child of this by treating them in such a way that you witness their value in every moment… in sickness and in health… in joy and in pain… in tears and in laughter… in rest and at play.
Spend healing time in nature
The earth is perfectly suited for reminding your child that he or she is part of a bigger plan and that they are well supported for life here on this planet, that in fact the planet itself has a healing energy to give to them.
Touching the earth (grounding) supports the body’s ability to heal.
It’s so important, I wrote and illustrated a children’s book about it, called From The Ground Up, available on my website and on Amazon.
This book can be an important healing tool that can set your child up for a lifetime of enhanced health by teaching them the value of spending time grounding.
Spend healing time with animals
The comfort of an unconditionally loving pet can NOT be underestimated.
Let your child’s favorite pet sleep with them at night, lay on their sickbed with them, even take a bath with them!
And if they don’t have a pet, ask them if they’d like one. Watch their face light up.
Healing music has a way of opening us up to possibility.
When the energy in a room gets heavy or dark or stagnant, bring new energy in with the beauty of sound.
Ask what your child would like to listen to or just begin by some gentle nature tunes like the kind used in massage therapist’s office… there is a reason this music is played, it helps the client relax and get into a healing, positive mind-frame!
Heal through art
Art has a way of letting you get out of your own worry and into your hands.
Many times, something you have no way of expressing or even formulating and idea about can be released through active use of your hands.
Especially for children who are facing a health crisis and are too sick to actively play or adventure or get out of the hospital or home, bringing art in (just like with music) is a way to give them a bit of play, a bit of fun, a bit of possibility back.
Modelling clay, paper and crayons, finger-paints in the bathtub… all are doing more than just giving your child something to do, it is giving your child a way to heal.
Be certain they are getting enough sleep.
Sleep time is healing time. Deep sleep gives the body time to repair on a different level than we can repair during activity.
Restorative sleep is crucial to the healing process.
Be sure your child is getting 10 or more hours of sleep, especially when they are facing an illness.
Solid sleep allows the body to decrease inflammation, improve memory function, improve daytime stamina and decrease fatigue, increase attention span, regulate a health weight, lower stress, boost mood, and boost immune function… all key when you are fighting off illness.
And by the way, I am such a big fan of cosleeping with young children and babies, especially those that are sick, that I wrote and illustrated a book about it for you, you can find that here.
9. Know that your very presence in your child’s life transforms their future health.
YOU are a healing presence in your child’s life. Enjoy being that presence and that light for them.
During a crisis, simply your presence IS ENOUGH.
It is MORE THAN ENOUGH.
Your consistency in their life is the rock upon which they draw strength, comfort, hope and yes… healing.
Continue to show your unwavering presence to your child through every health crisis they could possibly face and you show your child the power of unconditional love… the best medicine there is.
For more ideas on how to nurture your child through illness and raise them in vibrant Well Being, you can find my Parenting Idea Book — it contains 160 pages of ideas, information, and fun tools to nurture the fullest health potential of your child for a lifetime!
PS — here are some other blog posts I’ve written about the health of children, hopefully one of these will help someone out there right now, today!
Share with all the mama’s you know and love:
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