At Nurtured Inspirations, we talk a lot about mindfulness, well-being, and the Seven Pillars of Well-Nurtured Children. From our perspective, the seven pillars we must nourish include the emotional, social, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, and nature aesthetic pillars. Nourishing each of these seven pillars is one empowering way we can support the growth and development of the whole being of children.
In fact, we believe that these pillars apply to all human beings, so in essence, we could easily say they are the Seven Pillars of Well-Nurtured Human Beings. As parents, homeschoolers, nannies, grandparents, educators, and other child nurturing professionals, we are constantly considering how best to raise children. Of all the things we do in life as parents, caregivers, and educators, the way we nurture children is one of the most highly regarded and critically important elements of raising children well.
Part of nurturing children well is connected to how we nourish their whole being. Nurturing the emotional pillar of children involves many things including helping them to recognize and express their feelings in healthy ways. It is sometimes the case for children (and adults!) to try and move away from big feelings such as sadness, anger, or fear as many of these types of emotions require much energy and attention.
At times, emotions feel wonderful. Other times, they can be connected to feelings of unease, confusion, frustration, and discomfort. In this way, it is natural for human beings to want to move away from these emotions. It takes much practice, good strategies, and effective tools to recognize an emotion, name it, feel and embrace it, and ultimately, find healthy ways to come to know it, accept it, and let it go when needed.
One of the tools we invite you to use with your children are Feeling Stones. A simple everyday way to talk about our emotions, Feeling Stones are easy to make and offer a wonderful starting point for conversation with your children. With a basket or other collection bag or container, go on a gathering walk to collect several small, smooth stones. A beach is a wonderful place to find these types of stones, an outdoor garden or park may also hold these natural treasures from nature. You can also use decorators’ stones found in local craft shops or nurseries.
When you’ve returned home, lay out the stones, noticing their texture, temperature (they are often cool), size, and colour of the stones. Talk with your children about feelings and discuss how feelings look and feel. Practice, through role-play variations of emotions. Look into a mirror with your children and make faces that represent each feeling. Ask your children to help make the faces of each emotion on the stone using Sharpie-style markers, acrylic paint, or chalk-style markers. A coat of Mod Podge can be painted on to seal and protect the images your children have made on the stones.
Together, choose a small box or special basket in which to house the Feeling Stones. Decide where it might be best to set them. Each day, make reference to the stones. Actively use them, talk about them, make stories with them, and refer to them when you share how you are feeling about something. Model how to use stones to express emotions. Feelings Stones are one tool that can be used to help children learn the words that describe emotions. Talking about what the emotions look like allows children to come to recognize the face, sounds, and body language of different emotions. It also helps children come to know themselves and others on an emotional level.
Emotional Intelligence is one of the most important parts of our growth and development as human beings. People spend their entire lives striving to be more emotionally connected and well. Possessing a high level of emotional intelligence has been proven to be a key indicator of a person’s well-being. Raising children with strong foundational connections and understandings of their emotions leads to a healthy, happy, and well-balanced childhood. Talking about, engaging in role-play, and naming emotions is part of a healthy way of being and supports an emotionally well-balanced lifestyle. Taking time to practice using emotion words in your daily conversations as well as the next time big feelings emerge helps children come to know themselves and others.
ACCEPTANCE, SELF-WORTH, COMPASSION & EMPATHY
Developing an awareness and understanding that as human beings emotions are a part of who we are, empowers children to become well-connected to feelings of acceptance, self-worth, compassion, and empathy for themselves and others. So the next time you’re faced with big emotions, invite your children to breathe into it and either show or tell how they are feeling using the Feeling Stones. When we nurture the emotional pillar of children, their heart, mind, and spirit feel centred and balanced. This feeling of balance helps nourish solid foundational roots of emotional intelligence that nourish the holistic well-being of children.
IT’S YOUR TURN
As always, I welcome you to share something that you do in your own life to nurture mindfulness and the emotional pillar of your children. Your input is important and brings new ideas and perspectives to our dialogue. Please share in the comment section below. The world needs your voice and now is your chance to share it!
Founder ~ Nurtured Inspirations
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