We are hearing a lot about Somatic tools for your children. Learn more about somatic tools and how they can support your child from our expert Katie Connolly.
How Can Somatic Tools Support My Child?
Children in their formative years (under the age of 7) spend a large part of their day in the Theta state. This is similar to when we are meditating, in a healing session, just drifting off or waking. It’s a natural healing state of the body. We are here but also part of the ether. Given this and that young children are still learning and without the same contexts as adults, they tend to explain things in very basic yet intuitive ways. Somewhere along the line, due to social conditioning, expectations and the demands of life, or potentially traumatic situations, we become disconnected from our bodies. Somatics can be a way for us to reconnect with our bodies. Additionally, it offers an intuitive language for us to connect with our children around their experiences to process them.
What Are Somatic Tools?
The term ‘somatics’ has become a bit of a buzz word lately, and it seems there are various iterations. ‘Soma’ is Greek for body, so somatic work is body-based work. The way I have worked with it since I was a child and formally for the last 12 years, is being able to tune into our bodies wisdom and use our body to release what is showing up. This is aligned with Polyvagal (Craniosacral) Theory and Peter Levine’s trauma-informed work.
Like animals, we release big experiences through movement and sound. It’s normal to cry, get angry, laugh like there’s no tomorrow. But our societies don’t like too much emotion, and if you go back even a generation or two, less emotional display was often better. Unfortunately we are seeing the consequences of this now, showing up as chronic anxiety, depression, and unhealthy systemic cycles. I don’t know about you, but I want to change this!
Children are actually naturals at this! If you ask a child how they feel, they often tell you about their body rather than labeling an emotion or thought pattern. Often it can be hard even as adults to logically recognize and articulate our sensations and emotions, we just know something is not right… yet we keep plugging along. I work with families to tune into their bodies through Craniosacral, yoga, and guided meditation to understand what needs to be seen and heard, and find healthy ways to move through experiences or emotions through movement, art, breath and voice work, etc.
How Can I Practice Somatic Tools with My Child?
When your child is feeling a big emotion, you can begin by asking them where they feel it. Does it have a colour, or perhaps a sound? Does it have a shape or a movement? Perhaps placing a hand on it would help.
In doing so, we are fully acknowledging their experience and the wisdom of their body. Additionally we are offering them tools to be able to express their sensations and emotions in ways that might be difficult to articulate through our left (logical and linear) brain. While children are young, this is also a wonderful time to begin nurturing their connection with their body, so they have this tool to turn to as they get older and deal with more complex concerns. For children who are highly sensitive, neurodiverse, or not verbal, Somatic work is a fantastic tool!
Somatic practices are a way we can honour all aspects of ourselves – physical, emotional, energetic, and intellectual. I’m sure you can relate to stuffing emotions in order to keep going… and what happens? They become repressed our bodies to show up later, often when we least expect it to. Learning to tune into our bodies on a regular basis to acknowledge and release experiences as they show up supports our holistic wellbeing. These are tools we can use as parents and share with our children, after all our children learn by watching what we do and play. They learn in connecting and feeling safe with us, more than our words.
Where Can I Get More Somatic Support?
My Award Winning Children’s Yoga Cards offer a fun, age-appropriate way for families to play with Somatic tools to help set the tone for the day, and to use these life skills during challenging moments.
Additionally, I offer a Free Intro Course on the gloWithin App, sharing age-appropriate breathwork and basic understanding of the nervous system.
If you are looking for support as a Mom, I also offer the Motherhood Journey, with a live, virtual community. Within this offering, Moms can find the package that suits their needs from community-based learning to hand-in-hand support to empower your family to thrive!
Want to learn more with Katie?
Katie Connolly is an award winning Speaker and Healer. She is an Expert Registered Yoga Teacher with a Registered Children’s Yoga School, a Craniosacral Practitioner, and Masters of Counselling Candidate. Katie’s passion for sharing Somatic tools with families and educators stems from learning them as a child from her Mother, to support her with anxiety, ADHD tendencies, and dealing with many challenging life experiences. Go here to join her.
You can also follow Katie on Instagram.