Me and my little guy have been blessed to find tons of tools for keeping ourselves regulated, healthy, and thriving.
From natural healing and self-care to technologies for mindfulness and anxiety relief, we’re happy to share our favorites so we can help others achieve balance and connectedness.
I’ve been using essential oils since I was a teen and discovered the health and wellness world. I then used them as a yoga teacher with my clients, and now as a mama with my little guy.
Oils have played a powerful role in my own emotional healing process, and I love teaching my son ways he can use them to boost his immunity and regulate his mood.
One of our major mainstays are essential oils. We recently got our first doTERRA Kids Kit. These signature blends are created with specific mental and emotional effects in mind, such as aiding sleep, easing anxiety, increasing focus, and boosting immunity.
We’ve created a little bonding routine each bedtime and morning that gets my son excited to use them. With our chosen oil rollers, we draw hearts on each other at specific points; the temples, lymph nodes, wrists, heart, and feet. These are pressure points that allow for maximum absorption.
Another major tenet of our little sensory world is the Social Thinking System by Michelle Garcia Winners. This ingenious curriculum of books, CDs, teacher/therapist/parent trainings, and conferences has made a huge difference in our lives. Social Thinking tackles nearly every sensory and behavioral issue imaginable in easy-to-digest ways.
Our absolute favorite product is the Superflex Superdeck Card Game. Developed to promote positive social thinking and flexibility, my son and I play with this deck over and over in millions of different ways.
We use it to reflect on characters in story books and the way they behave, we use it to talk about friends at school, and my son’s absolute favorite–we use it to talk about me when I’m not coping with my feelings well. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the curriculum first, or the card game might be a bit over you and your child’s head. I can’t recommend this program highly enough.
I stumbled across GoZen via social media one day and was immediately hooked. These simple cartoons teach the concepts of cognitive behavioral therapy in a kid-friendly way. With actionable worksheets at the end of each lesson, they give kids the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in each module.
Aliens and space ships capture my son’s imagination, while the relatable stories and interactive quizzes keep him engaged. We’ve already completed the Well-Being + Resilience series and plan to complete them all. GoZen is also a great alternative to watching regular television.
Another system I can’t applaud enough is Mightier by Neuromotion Labs. This bioresponsive gaming system includes a wearable for your little one to monitor their heart rate as they play. The games give them real-time feedback and actually become more challenging as their heart rate climbs.
It includes exercises to bring the heart rate back down and reminders to do so in-game. Kids are incentivized with “acorns” which they can exchange for new games as they are developed and added to the library. It’s tablet time that you can feel good about.
The entire system, which includes a tablet, is shockingly affordable, and includes one-to-one coaching from the psychologists who created the game. A truly great product.
Aha! Parenting.com is a great resource for parents who want to infuse their family life with mindfulness, patience, and a bit more peace.
The site is created by Dr. Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids, which is a wonderful book with actionable tips on keeping your cool and creating a harmonious home atmosphere. The site itself offers an online course for parenting with joy connection, as well as lots of audio and video resources.
The Post Institute
The Post Institute is another wonderful website that offers counseling, parenting support groups, courses, and great podcasts for purchase.
Much of the Post Institute content involves being trauma-informed when dealing with children who are attachment challenged. They emphasize that most disciplinary philosophies serve to reinforce shame with children who already carry the burden of negative emotions.
I’ve heard Brain Balance called “the missing link” in children with neurological or behavioral challenges by a social skills therapist.
There is a lot out there offering the fundamentals for learning how to behave, but not a lot addressing the underlying developmental and physiological issues that cause disruptions in brain function, atypical behavior, and attention issues.
Based on the book Disconnected Kids by Dr. Robert Melillo, the Brain Balance program focuses on retraining the primitive reflexes that, in most typically functioning children, get replaced as they mature. In some children, because of things like trauma and environmental factors, these primitive reflexes persist and disrupt their ability to regulate themselves. This concept may be at the bottom of what in autism is often called “stimming“.
While Brain Balance is somewhat controversial because it has not existed long enough for empirical research to prove its efficacy, I have seen it work for many children, including my own.
Via my background as a yoga teacher, I also notice many parallels with the subtle effects of gross and fine motor activities that I’ve both practiced and taught to my clients. Not only this, but as someone who has experienced fairly severe anxiety in the past, I can truly understand how much our physiology is affected by the brain and vice versa.
Now, I’m no doctor, but I am a believer in experimentation and a healthy balance of skepticism and curiosity when we approach things that are new.
Dr. Dan Siegel
Dr. Dan Siegel is another author who provides extremely useful resources and insights for parents. His work is at the forefront of the field of interpersonal neurobiology, and calls for a compassionate and connected view of our children through fundamentally understanding how their brains work.
Lives in the Balance
Lives in the Balance is a non-profit organization founded by doctor and author Ross Greene. Their aim is to educate parents and academic institutions to help create ways of coping with behavioral challenges without punitive, shaming, or adversarial actions.
They are aiming to change the paradigm to treat all kids with respect, compassion, and dignity. At the core of their philosophy is the idea that when you handle kids with power and control, that’s what you get back. I can certainly say that this has been the case with my son.
The title of one of his many great books, Raising Human Beings, says it all. Lives in the Balance also offers a Facebook group for parents to connect and discuss how they can implement strategies for positive change.
These are just a few of the stops me and my little guy have made on our journey toward connection, successful education, and living as a compassionate, empathetic family.
I truly hope these resources can help others who are on similar journeys. It can be a hard road, and being armed with the right tools matters. And above all, finding the right community makes a world of difference.
NoteI do not, as of now, have affiliate or business relationships with the above companies and organizations aside from my role as a doTERRA Wellness Advocate. All opinions are my own, and I share them so that they may serve parents and children who might benefit from my experiences.