I was recently reading two of my favourite children’s books to the students in my class: “The Peaceful Warrior” and “The Quest for the Chrystal Castle”, both written by Dan Millman. These books highlight essential lessons for children in kindness, compassion, determination, courage and peace, and I highly recommend that you read them to the children you love.
One important theme, elicited by Millman’s literature, regards our thoughts and how thoughts can often become our greatest obstacles.
Every year, as I read Millman’s stories, young students bring my awareness to the fact that many are troubled by negative thinking patterns:
“I can’t do it!”
“What’s the use?”
“I’m not good/ strong/ fast/smart enough!”
These are just a few examples of thoughts which prevent children from believing in themselves, overcoming challenges and achieving their best.
When tapping, we often start with a physical feeling or an emotion, but tapping on a limiting or troubling thought can be just as effective.
A thought can be an excellent doorway into tapping. You don’t necessarily have to begin with a set-up statement. Simply invite children to talk and tap as you listen without judgement. Ask gentle questions to discover what’s driving the thought. If an emotion or a physical feeling presents itself, then guide children to tap on those aspects as well.
As adults, we want to shift children to positive perspectives whenever possible. However, it’s important that we give children the time and permission to express what is really bothering them while they tap. Encourage them to tap on their troubles until you begin to notice a shift happen within them. This shift may appear in the form of a smile, a yawn, diminishing tears, or a lack of focus, all of which indicate a readiness to question the truth of their original thought.
“Are you really sure that….?” you might ask, referring to that thought.
Their reply will suggest whether more tapping is needed. If not, you can gently guide children to turn their thoughts around by tapping with a positive reframe such as this:
Karate Chop: Even though there’s a part of me that thinks that (I can’t do it), maybe the truth is that I’ll never really know until I give it a try.
Top of Head: I’ll never know until I give it a try…
Eyebrow: I’ll just give it a try and see what happens…
Side of Eye: It’s safe to just give it a try…
Under the Eye: I don’t have to be perfect…
Under the Nose: First times are just for practice anyways…
Chin: I’m ready to give it a try….
Collarbone: I’m ready to try my best…
Under the Arm: I’m ready to go for it….
Karate Chop: And even if I make a mistake… or two…I’m still an awesome kid!
Continue tapping on each point with positive relevant affirmations, until you notice your children’s self-confidence begin to shine.
Finally, guide children to understand one of the most empowering life lessons of all: our thoughts are not facts and we can choose to believe them – or not.