The challenges of growing up in today’s rapidly changing technological society are enormous. Children need to be equipped with skills for survival and growth that were never before imagined. When we focus on teaching children and adolescents self-healing and self-regulation techniques through the positive power of their imagination, it can empower them to realize their potential throughout their lifetime.
There are simple, effective, imagination strategies to bring balance and centeredness to our children’s lives and to maximize learning – so critical when considering the blast of technology kids are exposed to. By spending part of their day paying attention to “inside” rather than to outside stimulation, kids of all ages learn to self-soothe, and develop intuition and deep inner trust.
Of nine core Imagination Tools I work with, the basic “balloon breath” is a simple form of mindful meditation. Within minutes, kids can learn to center, go beyond simple mindful awareness, and access their imagination to discover creative solutions to everyday problems. Finding an inner safe sanctuary or Special Place is a vital step in doing this inner work, where children can connect with personal wisdom through encountering guides such as wise Animal Friends or Wizards (a la Harry Potter fame). Often Gifts of knowledge are received to help solve their concerns (e.g.: headaches, stomachaches, sleep issues) or lead them further toward a cherished goal (e.g.: sports, social, academic). Listening to their Heart, Belly and Body wisdom offer further powerful steps developing intuition. And turning to the restorative power of calming Colors and loving Energy is effective for physical and emotional healing.
These Imagination Tools can be easily and effectively implemented in a school or home setting. Terrific times to practice are first thing in the morning, after recess and lunch, and before introducing a new academic topic or homework. For example, a great way to prepare for learning a new skill is by imagining cleaning out your brain and clearing away any negative or worrisome thoughts, and picturing it shining bright ready to effortlessly absorb new knowledge.
A wonderful tie-in is to use digital technology (computer downloads, apps, etc) to have kids take a 3-5 minute mini vacations throughout the day to refocus and renew through guided imagination/meditation exercises. And longer downloads for before bedtime come in handy for those over-stressed individuals.
Through accessing the power of their imagination, kids find they have the answers to many of the stresses that life, technology, and school throw at them. As one nine-year-old shared, “Your imagination can help you heal.”
You can view this talk's video here.
Charlotte Reznick, Ph.D. is a child educational psychologist, an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at UCLA and author of the Los Angeles Times bestselling book, "The Power of Your Child's Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success" (Perigee/Penguin). In addition to her private practice, she creates therapeutic relaxation CDs for children, teens and parents, and teaches workshops internationally on the healing power of children's imagination. You can find out more about her at www.ImageryForKids.com.