3 Ways To Reduce Children’s Anxiety

Children are far more prone to anxiety than ever before and suffer from stress, depression, and behavioural issues that effect their quality of life.  

I know what that feels like, as my son suffered terrible anxiety until we made some significant changes in his life.  We decided not to give him medication, and instead supported him to heal naturally.  

As a parent it can be heart breaking to watch our child suffer.  

reduce children's anxiety

If it was a cut knee they had, you can put a bandaid on it, or if they suffer a cold we can tuck them up in bed, keep them warm and know they will soon be ok, but with anxiety it can hard to know what to do to help and can be an ongoing and debilitating problem .  

As parents we don’t have to feel helpless, in fact as the most important people in the lives of our children we are in the best position to make a difference.  

3 ways to reduce anxiety in children naturally.

1 – Feed them foods that fuel the mind.  

Every cell in the body is made from the food that children eat, including the brain cells. Additives such as artificial colours, flavours and preservatives can cross the blood brain barrier and effect the way the brain processes information, how they behave, how they feel and how they think.

Clean foods create a clean mind.  After taking my son off processed foods such as sausages, and ice blocks his debilitating anxiety reduce within just two weeks and he was able to have such a better quality of life. I also recommend using a few drops of lavender essential oil on a tissue under their pillow at night, and my family uses Weleda’s stress & tension relief tablets as an additional support during stressful times.  

2 – Let kids be kids.  

Leave children to be little, to grow and to play in their own way and in their own time.  Play is one of the greatest healers and NOT the time waster that some think it is.  

It allows children to process their thoughts in the real world, and is very therapeutic.  Too often children are thrown into the adult world of news stories, drama, and adult problems too soon. The adult world can cause havoc on a young mind that isn’t prepared for dealing with such problems yet.  Letting children be little for as long as possible will enable them to grow a strong and capable mind.

3 – Let them draw out their feelings.  

Drawing at any age is therapeutic and a great way of taking blocked feelings and emotions and getting them out on paper.  For children who may not have the words to tell us what is wrong, or even know what is wrong themselves, drawing can be very beneficial.  Give them plenty of paper, and crayons and pencils and get them drawing.  Let them draw what ever they want, but if they are having trouble getting started, or don’t know what to draw try this:

Ask them to draw a house and their family.  The colours used in their drawings all have a significant meaning, as do the people they draw.  The drawing of a child can tell a parent a lot about what is going on in their mind.

I have worked for more than 12 years with young children and have studied children and their art work. If you would like to understand your child’s drawing a little better, get them to draw their house and family, post it below, and I can help you understand it.  

If you feel like your child’s anxiety is getting out of control remember to talk to your doctor or natural health professional. 

Jamie x 

weleda

Raising Kids Who Are ‘Different’

Raising kids who are different

Supporting children to recognise and value their differences is a powerful part of holistic parenting.  It empowers them to be who they were born to be.

We have to stop thinking of being different as a bad thing, being different is actually a good thing.

You might not feel this all of the time, but the truth is we are blessed to be the parents of children who are different.

It’s easy to get caught up in the expectations of society, of the education system and even of our friends, family and neighbours.  Those expectations we have to raise a ‘normal’ child, that fits in with everyone else.  

I can personally tell you how exhausting and stifling trying to be like everyone else is.

For a long time I tried so desperately to fit in, to fit in with my peers, my co-workers, my family, and to basically any group I thought would have me.  I felt like I was different, even when I was changing myself so I appeared to be like others, so I would be accepted and fit in, deep down I felt like I was a fraud.  I knew I didn’t fit, and I felt that if I didn’t fit in, then I wasn’t meant for this world.  

This is a frighteningly common feeling among children, teens and adults.  And it’s this feeling of loneliness and difference that can lead our precious young people to remove themselves from this world. I wish I had known then what I know now.  How different I would have felt about myself, and my reasons for being born.

I have to check my parenting everyday, especially the words I use when talking to my children, because I grew up being told ‘Don’t rock the boat’,’Don’t think like that’, ‘Don’t upset anyone’, ‘Don’t do that’, ‘Don’t think like that’.  I was raised to believe we should do what we are told, to please other people.  I believed that I needed to make other people happy in order for me to be happy myself.  I tried this for many years, doing what society told me to do and listening to others instead of my own intuition.  That awful niggling feeling that I was wasting my life was making me feel depressed, and deep down my soul was crying out to be heard. It didn’t make me happy to live a life for others, it made me depressed, angry, sad and very lonely.

Deep down I knew I was different, but no one ever told me that it was o.k to be different.  It wasn’t until I embraced my own differences, by seeing these as gifts to be shared with the world, that I began to live my purpose.  I can tell you there is no other feeling like the feeling you get when you are living your purpose. The universe supports you, everything falls into place and the most important thing ever happens.  You feel happy.  

Now as a parent and a teacher, I want children to know this…..

It is our differences that make us shine.

It is our differences that make us stand out.

It is our differences that make us unique.

It is our differences that allow us to make a difference.

Our differences are our gifts from the universe, and it is up to us if and how we choose to use these to make the world a better place.  It’s the meaning of life.  To find our gifts, and to use these to make the world a better place.  

You may think it will make life easier for our children if they are born looking, thinking, speaking, walking, behaving, and socialising normally. But normal people have normal lives, and who want’s that really…a normal life? Not me, and I don’t want normal lives for my children.  I want greatness, uniqueness and sky high extraordinarily amazing lives, that stretch them, grow them, and teach them. I hope they will experience all the greatness that was meant for them, and them alone.  That they will embrace their individual gifts of difference, in order to create a difference in the world. Almost anyone who has done something amazing did it because they thought differently.  Just as you are not for everybody, so too your child won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, and why should they be.  

Different people, lead different lives, and make all the difference in the world.  Not everyone will value our child’s differences, so as a parent that’s our job to do for our children.

Sometimes it’s those things that prevent us from fitting in that turn out to be our gifts.  Every single child deserves to be who they really are.  Thisis why I LOVE the ‘Wild & Free’ approach to parenting. 

We want to empower our children to think differently to the others, to step away from the flock and step up to their purpose. It can be one of the hardest things our children will ever face, or one of the most natural things that they ever face.  How we view our children’s differences inside our own home, is one of the most important things. To believe in themselves, and their ideas when no one else does, takes courage and almighty self-belief.  Empowering our children to embrace their differences, and share their gifts, will lead to an extraordinarily life, and who doesn’t want that?  

How To Increase Children’s Confidence With Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy blend for strength, inner power and confidence.

aromatherapy for children

As we already know, essential oils are very healing for both adults and children, and I don’t think a day goes by where we don’t use at least 3 essential oils in our home.  

Yes i’m an essential oil addict!

Essential oils bring us back into the moment, and we can all do with a little more of that. 

I love using essential oils with my children, it’s a big part of my Wild & Free Parenting Approach.  Children in particular are very responsive to the therapeutic properties in essential oils and they can be used for all kinds of mental and physical aliments.  They can be used for yoga practice, meditation or relaxation, but they can also be used for inspiration, to uplift and enlighten, and for clarity of mind. 

I created this oil blend for my daughter who is very shy, and often gets anxious when when she has to step out of her comfort zone. She’s one of the incredible bright lights, who sometimes can’t see how incredible she is.  

This is one of my FAVOURITE blends for increasing confidence and igniting my children’s inner strength.  They also love the smell, and I often use it myself when I need a little extra confidence boost.

‘Inner Strength Blend’

Pink grapefruit essential oil x 20 drops, lime essential oil x 4 drops and jasmine essential oil x 4 drops, blended into a base oil of almond oil 90ml.  Store in a dark bottle away from sunlight to ensure the therapeutic qualities of the oils are protected. 

The best ways to use this oil blend:

  • Rub a few drops of the oil onto your child’s pulse points.  These are found on the inside of the wrists, or on their neck. 
  • Pop a few drops of the blend on a tissue and let them carry it in their pocket.  They can pull out the tissue and smell it when needed throughout the day.
  • Use as massage blend for an evening massage (even just rubbing onto children’s arms, or legs works really well.
  • Add 10mls of the blend to a foot soak or warm bath with a tsp of sea salt at the end of a challenging day. (The bath will become slippery so sitting with them and reading a calming story while they soak may be best).
  • Add 1 few drops to an oil burner (without the almond oil)

 

It can be used for preschool jitters, before a performance, or on those evenings when children are falling apart because ‘no one likes them’, or they are are having trouble remembering how incredible they really are.

This divine oil blend can also be burned in an oil burner, without the almond oil carrier. 

A good set of pure essential oils makes up our holistic first aid kit, and are a must have for those of us wanting to avoid chemical nasties with our families. 

I have been studying the therapeutic qualities for many years and LOVE creating new blends. 

Comment below with what your family needs support with right now and I will reply with an essential oil blend that can help, or share your favourite blend with me.  Jamie x 

The NEW ‘Wild & Free’ Approach to Raising Kids

The ‘Wild & Free’ Approach To Raising Happy Kids:

natural parenting

After 16 years of working with young children, and 11 years of raising my own diverse ‘out of the box’ children, I have grown as a teacher and a mother, and most definitely as a human being.  I have seen children achieve such greatness, and overcome some of the most challenging obstacles.  

However I have also seen children suffering from a staggering increase of aliments, disease, and mental issues that were once only seen in adults 4x their age.  I see the need for a NEW parenting and teaching approach, one that heals the past, allows children to feel safe in the present moment, and prepares children for the real world.

 

Never before have I seen so many anxious, worried and malnourished children.

 

Many children I have worked with are overweight, over-stimulated, worried, hurried and heading towards burnout. 

They live in a chemical world, led by the advertising industry and the shallowness of the media.  It’s become normal for children to be medicated by large drug industries, for lunch-boxes to look more like toy boxes, and for screen time to take over as playtime. 

 

I would love to see a movement towards a new kind of parenting and teaching approach for our children. One that nurtures all the senses, and encompasses the diverse stages and dimensions of each individual child.  It’s about parents taking back their power to parent, teach and raise children their way.  It’s partly about stepping back in time and raising children like we used to, but times have changed so it’s also about raising children in turbulent times we are facing. It supports those who choose to send children to school, and those who choose to homeschool or unschool children.  It supports all those parents and teachers who know their is a more natural and holistic approach to growing happy, and healthy children. 

 

So here it is, my approach to parenting and teaching our youngest and our most precious.

 

The ‘Wild & Free’ approach:

  • Based on unconditional love and acceptance
  • Unhurried, follows the pace set by the child
  • Allows children to unfold in their own time, and in their own way
  • Supports ‘out of the box’ thinking
  • Raises self-esteem
  • Decreases stress and anxiety
  • Increases responsibility and family and community contribution 
  • Children learn to step into their personal power
  • Strong, clear boundaries are in place at all times
  • Children are nourished with clean, additive free whole-foods
  • Families work together as a team who build each other up
  • Children have the freedom to express who they have come here to be
  • Minimal screen time
  • Less consumerism (less store brought toys and resources)
  • Natural approach to health and wellness
  • Encourages more time in the nature world

 

Learning is: 

  • Based around children’s strengths and interests
  • Purposeful to the child
  • Nature based
  • Child directed

 

Our children are our future, and for the healthy and successful, thriving human race, our future will need healers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and out of the box thinkers like never before.

Does this approach resonate with you? Let me know your thoughts below, and watch this space for more information regarding my ‘Wild & Free’ approach.  

Jamie x 

P.S I LOVE this post about raising young children and how they learn so much from their parents, and thought you might too ‘You Are Their Whole World’

Raising Empowered Boys

raising superheroesHow much power over their lives do we give our boys? Are we raising them to be the superheroes they were born to be? 

Human beings thrive on having a sense of purpose, and men especially have an innate need to feel powerful. We see this everywhere, with men being drawn to fast power driven cars, in the gym with power lifting, and physical fighting if they or someone they protect is threatened. They were born to be physically and mentally powerful beings, that is how they are wired, but they are raised in a society where they are not only disempowered, but punished if they execute any power over their own lives.

If society was raising empowered boys then the suicide rate wouldn’t continue to rise so rapidly. Suicide is the leading rate of death in many countries, and in New Zealand it is the leading cause of death in boys over ten, and the leading cause in men only after heart disease.

Empowered people don’t take their own lives.

People who commit suicide do so often because they feel they have no other choice. They feel they have no way out of a situation, or the circumstances of their life. They feel unsupported to be who they really are, and at times they are not supported to even discover who they are in the first place, for society has already decided for them. Disempowerment starts from a very young age and continues into old age for many men.

How much power does the average boy have over his life in an average weekday?

He is woken at a time decided by his parents

He is told to eat the food bought and prepared by his parents

He is then told to eat all the food on his plate

He is told what to wear

He is told off, for being messy, cheeky, loud, slow and late for school.

He then attends a school decided for him by his parents

He is told what to do and what to say from the moment the bell rings

He is told to sit still

He is told to listen better

He is told to line up

He is told to be quiet

He is told what to learn and how to learn it

He is told when he can go to the toilet and when he cannot

He is told when he can eat

He is told what he can eat

He is told how long he can eat for

He is told when he can play

He is told what types of games he can play

He is told how he can play those games appropriately

He is told when to return back to the classroom

He is told who he can sit by and who he cannot

He is told what book to read and how to read it

He is told what to draw and how to draw it

 

He is taught he must conform to be accepted

 

He then attends after school activities decided for him by his parents

He is told what to learn and how to learn it

He then goes home to recover from the day of trying to fit in and please so many people

He is told what to eat, how to eat it and how much he should eat

He is told when to wash and how to wash

He is told when to go to bed and how long he should sleep for

He is told to stop being so annoying, loud, silly, angry and tearful.

 

He is told he is naughty, disobedient and rude.

 

If we truly knew how much effort our boys put into trying to please us each and everyday we would never call them these things again.

 

When is he allowed to just be himself, as loud or annoying, or silly as that may be, when does he get to just be?

To let them be, to let them free, is to love and accept them exactly as they are.  We need to step back and give our boys more power over their own lives, let them make decisions, let them experience the consequences and joys of these decisions, and be there for them unconditionally.  In an upcoming blog i’m going to be sharing my own families journey, how I was unintentionally taking this away from him and what we did to make him feel in control and empowered once again.

 

‘Today I empower my son to take back the power that he so desperately craves. I accept him as he is, and for today I drop my expectations and allow him to just be who he needs to be’

 

Wildflower – An Empowering Children’s Story

healing story for childrenThis is a therapeutic story for children, designed to help them raise their self-worth and rise up against the odds. It has been especially written for children who are experiencing ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’, where others are intimated by the child’s light and try to cut them down.  

It is best read in a quiet space, and in a slow, warm tone.  

 

Wildflower

Written by Jamie Geurtjens

Deep in the middle of a sunlit meadow, a wild flower began to grow. At first she was a tiny seed, no bigger than a grain of sand, but tucked down deep within her she held the same strong power of a wise old mighty oak. The wild flower grew so fast, just like she was meant to do. Even when the rains came down, and Spring winds blew, she kept on growing and nothing ever felt so right.

One day when wild flower had grown just as tall as she ever thought she could, the winding weeds beneath her began to call her names. They asked who she thought she was to rise up so big and tall, they told her she must come down and join them, where she really would belong. They said they would take her in, and she would never be alone. They twisted all around her stem, and slowly pulled her down to where they thought that she should be.

Now down below, the dark cool shade made her feel so sad, but she didn’t want to risk it all and end up all alone, looking like she thought that she was more than just a weed.

It wasn’t until it was quiet and the weeds were all asleep, that she heard a noise and listened in to something deep within her. In her fragrant wild flower soul, a soft and gentle song was playing that told her still to grow.

She decided now to hold her head up high, because looking down was not for her, and she began to strive for something more. Rising up again, she pushed her way right through those weeds and headed towards the warm familiar sun. She didn’t listen to the heavy words of the sheltered rambling weeds, instead she took her strength from the wise old earth beneath.

As she finally rose above it all, she knew this was where she was truly meant to be. She was a single wild flower in a vast golden meadow, seeing sights that weeds would never ever see. As she swayed so gently, feeling the soft breeze amongst her slightly worn petals she suddenly saw a sight that only she could see. To her complete delight that very day she had given strength to many other wild flowers that longed to be as tall as she. Flowers that had been far too shy to rise that tall, we’re now all around her and one by one that very meadow burst with all the vibrant colours of a rainbow.

Today that meadow is filled with light, and millions of flowers with colours bright. All because of one small but mighty flower, who decided not to doubt herself and rose up even higher.

So if ever you start to doubt yourself, and think that you can’t rise tall, remember that deep within you is a song that plays just for you, a song that only you could understand. You too can lead the way, going places that others only wished they could. Someday soon because of you there may just be a simple meadow that will finally shine with vibrant light.

Notes for parents and teachers: For younger children 6 and under, it can simply be read and enjoyed for a few days in a row.  Allow the questions to come from the child.

For older children 6 and above follow the direction your child wants it to take.  These questions can be helpful after the story for beginning a conversation that supports the situation of the child:

What do you think was so special about the wildflower?  Why didn’t the weeds want her to grow tall?  Has this ever happened to you or anyone you know?  What would you do if you were wildflower?