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Body Talks and How We Can Change our Child’s Emotional State- or Ours

Much research has been done on how moving our body in particular ways changes how we feel. When we purposefully move the body- hold it in a certain position like how it’s done in yoga- it can shift our emotional state and affect our well-being.

We’ve all heard that when we close our eyes, smile, we feel happier, or when we take long and deep breaths, we feel relaxed.

In our quest to be mindful, present parents and educators, we can also try to develop more awareness in the way we move our body, especially certain body parts, not just our thoughts, words, or our actions.

Now, how we act or move affects people around us as well.

When we try to get our students’ attention in class, or when we are feeding our little one, we often show playfulness- silly face, funny tone of voice, certain dance moves with singing. These bring about openness and ease, and make it easier for the students or our little one to do what we ask of them.

At some point in our lives, in one of our classes or seminars we attended, we’d always hear, ‘Sit up straight’ which allows more focus and attention. In supervisory trainings I’ve gone to, there is always, always a part that discusses how we carry ourselves to show authority. Chin up, straightened back all make a powerful stance, which makes us feel more in control, like you want to seize the day and accomplish much. We see people hunch up their backs, making them appear not so confident or uninterested in life.

That’s because our actions reflect our emotions, and when we are mindful enough to change our actions, we can change how we feel, and better yet, turn the situation around when we know how to reflect calm and comfort to our child and the people around us.

In one of the brain-based strategies (Handling Children’s Emotions) seminar by well-known psychotherapist Dr Tina Payne Bryson, she mentioned the power and calm it brings when we know just how to read through our child’s body language. It simply helps us become better and better in addressing any situation we get in with our child.

This happened the other night:

My boy is 2 years old and 3 months, and he loves fitting things inside crevices and putting stuff in holes- especially when there’s water. His recent discovery, and my recent cause of shock- shooting toys in the toilet.

It was almost dinnertime one night, and I asked J to put his toys away. I was busy setting the table and didn’t notice he was bringing his toys somewhere else. After some time, he stood in front of me with dripping hands, and I headed straight to the sink, nope, none.

Toilet it was. His school bus and other car toys were there, hay naku.

I was between mad and amused, but instead, I bent down and looked him in the eye, my own eyes wide at him. I said, ‘What is this, Anak?’

He looked down, avoided my stare, scratched his head, and then he put his fingers in his mouth. My face clearly was upset, but I tried my best not to get carried away by this. I saw him clench his jaw, do side glances at me, and start swaying his body nervously.

Can he answer Why questions? No, not yet, so I do away with that.

I could have come up all the reasons why he did it- maybe he wanted to delay eating dinner, or maybe he was wanting to see my reaction.

I responded calmly and tried my best to mellow my face. We talked and he seemed so agreeable, still teary, clearly surprised I didn’t get upset as usual. Dinner and the rest of the night went well.

These signs he showed-looking down, swaying nervously, scratching the head, putting fingers in his mouth- told me that he already knew that he did the wrong thing.

I didn’t have to get hard on him.

This saved us another tough night.

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