How to use the body talk for children technique

Using the body talk for children technique can help your child get in touch with how stress affects them physically. Although your children’s stress comes from what is going on in their minds, they will usually feel it in their bodies. How they feel and express it will very from child to child. They may get pains in their stomach, a headache, feel sick, get a stiff neck, have a hollow feeling inside, etc.

It will help them to understand what this pain or discomfort is about if you help them to enter into a conversation with it. Doing this makes it possible for them to really tune into what is happening their bodies and minds. And it usually helps to release the discomfort, or at least reduce it.

Doing the body talk for children technique with your child

1. Find a time and place where you can both concentrate and be undisturbed for 20 minutes or so. Have a notebook or some paper, and a pencil to hand.

2. If you haven't already, explain what body talk is to your child so they know what to expect. Make sure that they are happy for you to write down what happens so that they can remember it later. This means that they will need to tell you what is happening as they go through the exercise. If they find this distracting then don't worry about doing it.

3. Encourage your child to lie down somewhere comfortable. Sit beside them and help them to tune into their breathing and relax.

4. Ask them to become aware of the part of their body which is uncomfortable or painful. Help them to think about the pain and get a feel for exactly where it is and what it is like. Ask them some questions such as:

- What sort of pain is it? – nagging, sharp, dull, throbbing…. Find a word that describes it as well as you can.
- Is it a familiar pain or one you haven’t felt before?
- Does it have a texture? - rough, bumpy, lumpy, spiny, smooth, soft…
- Does it have a shape? – round, irregular, square, oval…
- What size is it? – large, small or somewhere in between…
- Does it have a colour? – you may be surprised what colour comes up!
- Does it have a sound? – soft, loud, growly, whispering…
- On a scale of 1 to 10, if 1 is completely comfortable and 10 is very painful or uncomfortable, what number is it?

As your child gives you all this information, make a note of it in the notebook.

5. Now ask them to imagine that their pain or discomfort has a voice. What would it like to tell them? What useful information does it have to give them?

6. Suggest that they ask it questions. If they don’t know what questions to ask you could offer the following ones:

- Why are you here?
- What do you need to say to me? Do you have a story to tell me?
- What can I do to make you feel better?
- Is there something I need to change?
- Do you have a message for me?

But only do this if they cannot think of any of their own - children usually get the body talk for children process very quickly and enter into it fully. Make a note of the questions they ask and any answers that come up. If you child feels more comfortable doing this exercise internally rather than talking during it, then trust the process and wait until the end to find out what happened.

7. Once your child feels he has finished his conversation, encourage him to say thank you to his body for sharing with him. Ask him to take a couple of deep breaths and to become aware of the surface under him and the room around him before he opens his eyes. Ask him how he feels and to give a number to the pain or discomfort now. You may well find that the pain has lessened or even disappeared.

7. Talk through with him what happened and what he learnt from it. Remember to congratulate him on giving himself to the process and focus on the wisdom that he received from his body.

8. You can repeat the body talk for children exercise regularly, especially if this pain or discomfort is a longstanding pattern for your child. Each time he does it, he will receive different messages and information. It tends to be true that the more time and attention he is willing give to it, the less he will feel the pain.

For a similar technique designed for adults click here.

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