‘How do I get my children to tap?’ is a question I often hear.
Shifting our intention first from getting our children to tap to showing them how to tap is important, as the word “getting” may imply a hidden agenda which some children might choose to resist. How often have you yourself resisted trying something new when you felt that someone was “getting” you to do it?
Relieving any doubts or hesitation you may feel about tapping with children is also important, and tapping first on your own feelings can help you to do so.
Perhaps you remember teaching your children to walk, ride a bike, or brush their teeth. Doubts about whether they would accept these life lessons were irrelevant because you understood the value and importance of them.
Tapping is just another valuable skill that we, as parents and educators, can offer our children to help them become happy, healthy, confident individuals.
When we let go of worries about whether children will accept tapping, trust in our intuition, and come from a place of compassion and curiosity, it becomes simple.
And once we make the decision to tap with our children, an abundance of possible moments will present themselves as opportunities for sharing this tool:
We can gently massage or tap on their meridian points as we cuddle our young babies.
We can tap on the fingertip points of our toddlers while we tuck them into bed each night and talk about their day. Tapping is an excellent relaxation technique for adults and children alike.
We can tap on or with young children as they tell us about their troubles and we give them the gift of our time, attention and understanding. Tapping, while engaging in gentle conversation about a problem, allows children to release their upsetting feelings. It also helps us, as the carers of our children, to do the same.
We can invite young children to tap by making it fun, involving them in games such as ‘Simon Says’ while teaching them the tapping points known as The Sequence.
We can sing with them the familiar old song, “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, while giving it a twist with the following words, “tap right here…”. In this way we can show young children how to tap for all sorts of distressing feelings with subsequent verses.
We can tap for our children whenever they are upset and wish to confide in us, so that we can role model the importance of empathy. We can invite them to tap along with us, as they tell us their troubles, but we can also let them know that we are tapping because we understand and feel for them. Once children learn about empathy tapping it encourages them to pay it forward.
We can show older children how to tap whenever they face an upcoming challenge that creates anxiety, fear, self-doubt or insecurities, encouraging them to acknowledge and accept their problems as they tap, so that their feelings can be honoured and released.
We can encourage our children to find favourite tapping points to use for emergency tapping before or during potential worrisome events such as driver’s tests, competitive sports events, stage performances, dental and medical procedures and school exams.
We can tap surrogately for our children, away from their presence and hearing, using the following words as a guide to begin: “Even though you (have this problem) I completely and unconditionally love, accept and support you…”
Trust and follow your feelings while you tune into your child’s distress and continue to tap.
With surrogate tapping you can choose to tap either as your child in the first person (I), or for your child in the second person (you), whichever feels most comfortable.
Since role modeling is one of the most effective ways to help our children learn, we can also let them see that tapping helps us whenever we are feeling upset.
Without a doubt, parenting can be one of the most challenging jobs in our world. Tapping helps to relieve the stresses of any parenting problem whether we tap with or without our children.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to do so, try tapping for yourself. Tapping helps us let go of past memories that may trigger us when our children experience similar troubles, it helps relieve us of distressing feelings of overwhelm, worry, frustration and guilt, and it allows us to let go of self-doubts and recriminations so that we can parent mindfully, from a place of peace.
Showing children how to tap when we feel peaceful ourselves is the best of all possible times to introduce tapping to children.