Featured guest blog post written by Christy Cowgill, a Health Coach, Certified Hypnotherapist and HypnoBirthing® Childbirth Educator
Learning and practicing self hypnosis techniques at home, can be beneficial to both parents and children, and it’s easy to learn.
Parenting is the most demanding, challenging, and rewarding experience… all at once, isn’t it? Today, often both parents work outside the home. Many households have limited support as the “village duties” needed to raise children are simply not there anymore. Families are scattered across the country, leaving parents and caregivers hungry for help.
Self Hypnosis Techniques: All Moms Should Learn
In an earlier blog post titled, “5 Ways Hypnosis helps in Every Stage of Motherhood,” I introduced some simple hypnotic principles to support you in finding relaxation, lower anxiety, and connection. In that post, I also included resourceful approaches to handling everyday challenges.
- progressive relaxation
- use your tension
These techniques make navigating the parenting job easier.
Why Children Respond to Positive Self Hypnosis
A child’s mind is ripe for positive self-hypnosis because it is naturally imaginative and active. Hypnosis can serve as a useful way to improve behaviors, gain more cooperation, and suggest strategies in both children and ourselves.
Many parents have found that the techniques used in positive self hypnosis for children have also helped improve their parenting effectiveness. By reviewing your own child-rearing procedures, you can better implement how you react emotionally to situations.
Natural and Unconscious Hypnosis That Happens Daily
Hypnosis is something we may experience often in our daily lives. Particularly, children of school age to the adolescent. When the conscious mind relaxes and becomes absorbed in an activity, unconscious hypnosis occurs. Children become absorbed in common daily activities such as eating, playing, watching a show on television, and even -daydreaming.
While in this natural mental state of absorption, the unconscious mind becomes more agreeable to accepting suggestions. The parent can create a meaningful positive suggestion at this point that will easily be placed in the child’s mind for future reference.
Here’s an example of Positive Hypnosis
“A child’s eating habits.”
Current state: The child resists eating the healthy option.
Desired state: The child eats the healthy option without resisting and creates a habit of enjoying healthy foods.
Let’s suppose it is eggs, in this example.
Current state: Eggs are a great source of protein and a common breakfast staple, but children may resist and desire toast instead.
First set the stage: present the eggs in a creative, fun way to the child…the sunny side up eggs are the “eyes” on the plate or scrambled eggs are the curly hair atop the clown face. Use fruit or other foods for the remaining “face parts.” Remember your child has a great imagination. Allow them to start eating.
When the child relaxes and begins to eat the eggs, introduce suggestions inside a story. Make the story specific to something the child likes and can easily associate with. If the child likes flowers, suggest that the protein in the eggs is like the sunlight the flowers used to grow tall and strong.
Craft the story with the higher purpose of associating their positive food choice with the outcome you want in the desired state. Again the desired state: The child eats the healthy option without resisting and creates a habit of enjoying healthy foods.
It can be so natural to experience “hypnosis” with these simple techniques. The suggestion can come from you at the moment or you can help the child to create and use their own suggestions. Sounds like a win-win, right?
Well, let’s consider this, shall we?
How Does Hypnosis Work in Children?
As a parent, I’m sure you have read many books to eager listeners. A well-constructed, well-told story is powerful for your child. Children are receptive to this imagination, as visualizations and imagery come easily to them. This ability allows for easy access to the powers of hypnosis suggestion.
As a story unfolds, the child listening becomes so absorbed with the storyline that his conscious mind (the thinking mind) is quiet. The story then guides the unconscious mind (the feeling mind) where it can mold (positive) emotions, feelings, and thoughts. These thoughts will then inspire (positive) associated behavior.
The practice of hypnosis offers a world of self-control and imagination for parents and children. Studies have shown that children who learn these life skills often carry them into adolescence and adulthood. Many kinder- and school-age classrooms use mindfulness, breathing, and similar techniques to help the children regulate emotions.
The hypnotic phenomenon is not magic. This normal state of mind allows you to use, instruct and direct the unconscious mind and body. With this state of mind, we all carry the abilities to reduce stress, control pain, conquer fears, and later unwanted habits or undesirable behaviors.
Childhood Problems and Helpful Self Hypnosis
Many childhood problems pass with time. Hypnosis is often a gentle and natural approach when you need a guiding hand. Keep in mind, that positive self hypnosis techniques are not a treatment for clinical problems that require formal therapist-led hypnosis.
An example of this would include bed-wetting after your child has established and mastered toileting. Hyperactivity, violence, or over-aggressive behaviors are some others. It’s important to remember that children experiencing clinical problems need to receive proper diagnosis and psychological evaluation.
Parents can provide informal suggestion strategies regardless of if they call it hypnosis. Earlier we discussed how you can use suggestions to help foster healthy food choices. Parents can also employ these techniques to gain cooperation, improve child skills or habits, reduce anxiety, and such. The purpose is to develop more success patterns and strategies to resolve problems and enhance positive child development.
Areas with The Greatest Impact of Hypnosis in Children
- overcome shyness
- gain confidence
- resolve general anxiety
- conquer a fear of the dark
- or abating bedtime resistance
Other Areas Where Positive Self Hypnosis Is Helpful
- poor eating
- thumb sucking
- reduce fear of doctors or dentists
- reduce performance anxiety and more
Would your household be happier and more enjoyable if you could change some of these common childhood behaviors?
Where to Begin? Start with You.
Before you attempt to teach techniques to your child, review the techniques discussed in 5 Ways, Hypnosis helps in Every Stage of Motherhood, and be familiar with using these on yourself.
Remember, as a parent when you experience tension, it communicates this feeling to the child, often in a non-verbal way. Children observe all the surrounding behaviors, even if you are unaware of their keen sense. If you become stressed/tense because of a project, a situation at work, or have money concerns, your child will take notice. The result can be the child displays stress as well. Once started, the cycle of stress can be difficult to break free from.
When there are peace and relaxation, children will relax and be peaceful around you. A positive attitude communicates hope to your child. Hope creates a strong feeling of being capable in your child.
Practical Ways to Incorporate Self Hypnosis
Breathing, relaxation, and guided imagery have specific benefits on the body. It helps shift from a sympathetic response (fight or flight) to a parasympathetic (rest and digest) state. This allows our bodies to enjoy healthy breathing (deep and nourishing) and this time allows our conscious state to rest. I have included simple, guided techniques below as examples of each.
Positive Self-Hypnosis Techniques at Home
Here is a fun and simple breathing exercise you can do together with your child.
“The Balloon belly game.”
Imagine their belly is a balloon getting larger (inhale.) Then getting smaller as you (exhale). What color is the balloon? Can they breathe sitting on a chair? How about lying on the floor? Have some fun with it! Explain the two breathing types to your child as you practice together (normal-faster from the chest; relaxing-slower in the belly.) Try these techniques a few times a day or whenever stress or tension wants to arise. The breath helps you stay or arrive at the more desired, resourceful state.
Relaxation with Storytelling and Imagery can happen independently or together. I have found that if you can create one game for your child, they will most likely jump at the chance to create another one in the future.
“Imagine That” is a game described in a self-hypnosis guide. Have your child select a character of their choice from a storybook, cartoon, or anywhere and you do the same.
Then create a problem or obstacle that the character must solve or overcome. Example: saving a person or animal they love. Then you both close your eyes, breathe with the belly three magical times, and imagine how their character would act. Sit quietly for a few minutes. Then through “talk and tell,” share the stories you imagined.
This exercise is useful in creating a relaxing environment before bedtime or whenever you need to bring energy levels down.
The beauty comes when you realize through this technique that feelings and thoughts flow comfortably and naturally. While your child’s mind is now opened to receiving information from his/her relaxed state, you can now share positive suggestions as they are more receptive.
Relaxation with Imagery and Art
Perhaps your child enjoys drawing or forms of art. You can create the same imaginative process above but through art and drawing.
You and your child will discover creative solutions and possibilities by using hypnosis. This is helpful to solve your problems as a parent; then, you can implement the same process to help the child solve their problems as well.
Modification for Children’s Hypnosis
There are many creative strategies you can design if your child is resistant to some techniques above. For example, young children are prone to a parent’s suggestions. This example below could be a helpful resource if your child will not take a deep breath.
Try some of these informal hypnosis techniques…
The “humming game” begins by humming a song yourself and invites them to join you. Hum high and low-pitched interchanging. Model a slow breathing pattern, even holding for a few seconds then exhaling. Start adding imagination. Pretend to be a hummingbird or a musical note.
This modification is beneficial to those exhausting bedtime routines. Children ages 2 to 7 years of age respond well to this. The strategy is to read the routine bedtime story and periodically substitute the words, “sleep”, “tired”, “heavy” or other such words that relate to sleeping. Use this technique subtly when you notice the child absorbed in the story or picture.
Massage can also help to soothe the child and you can then model a slow deep breath and ask them to bring that relaxation into different areas of their body.
Examples Using Bed-Time Story Model
When you invite participation, the child can learn slow deep breaths, relax, and then your tender guidance will help them associate this pattern with positivity and resourcefulness.
I frame hypnosis visualizations for children as bedtime stories. This makes listening an everyday experience for the child. You can create your own.
There is a wide variety of resources available to parents and adults on how to become more confident, but what about children? What is the best way to help children feel ready to engage in their world with enthusiasm?
A parent can craft a story and tell it to the child. Download an example here.
In today’s world, there is a vast appreciation for helping children find their individuality and uniqueness. As parents, we need to understand that children respond to suggestions from adults they love, trust, and respect. Even young children aged 4-5 will surprise you, as they develop self-hypnosis skills once you teach them some basics. Be creative with this process while having fun.
A key element to success is being patient. Both with yourself and with your child. Teaching new tools is a lifelong gift.
These activities boost self-esteem. And we know that the best chances for happiness in life come from positive self-esteem. These skills for you and your child, lead to years of happiness together.
Don’t forget: Snag a Full-Length BedTime story for your Child for Improving Confidence *suited for children aged 4-8.
I would love to hear from you once you try to creatively impact the desired change in your child’s behavior through hypnosis.
Share your experience here. Have you started to teach your child self-hypnosis techniques?
How did your child respond?
When I am not working. I am spending time with my two vibrant daughters and loving husband. We enjoy traveling, hiking, skiing, and biking.
𝗠𝘆 𝗽𝘂𝗿𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝘆 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝗿𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝘂𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗲. My own experiences have led me down paths to seek alternative therapies and treatment for life’s bumps… 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘢𝘨𝘦, 𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧-𝘥𝘰𝘶𝘣𝘵, 𝘢𝘯𝘹𝘪𝘦𝘵𝘺, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘢𝘪𝘯.
I was born to care for those around me, and 𝘮𝘺 𝘯𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘳 𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘮𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘴… oncology at first and then anesthesia. As a nurse anesthetist, I have 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙠𝙚𝙙 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙙𝙚𝙘𝙖𝙙𝙚𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙥𝙖𝙞𝙣 𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙖𝙜𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙡𝙙𝙗𝙞𝙧𝙩𝙝 𝙖𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙨𝙞𝙖.
𝗙𝗲𝗮𝗿, 𝗮𝗻𝘅𝗶𝗲𝘁𝘆, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗺 experienced by nearly all of us can knock our mind, body, spirit, and emotional selves out of balance. Traditional healthcare delivery model lacks the ability to make us whole. I incorporated hypnosis into my practice years ago to improve the disconnect.
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