November 10, 2013

The Many Languages of Our Children. ~ Emily Hall

English (or whichever language is spoken in your home) is not your child’s first language.

Your beautiful infant is crying and you have tried diapers, food and snuggling. You whisper in your mind “I wish you could just tell me what you need”. Your toddler is throwing a tantrum you can’t understand and are unable to assist them in quieting. In these circumstances we are seeking some avenue of much needed communication.

When these moments of frustration and non-communication occur with your child; when you are confused as to what they need and they are not able to find or they are too young to use words, remember that English is not your child’s first language.

Language is a gift we can provide; an essential tool for our children’s lives. We as parents, or loving adults in our children’s live, encourage them along the road to healthy communication and conversation. Spoken language is a learned tool of translation. We translate our emotions, thoughts, actions and non-verbal cues in to words. We teach these words to our children as we walk around our lives and theirs; speaking and translating. This is not our first language; it is our first learned language.

The first language of our body and our children’s body is silent.

It has no words. It is the language of the Elements: Fire, Water, Earth, Air and Metal. Let’s think about this.

How do you feel when you sit by a campfire, or have a candle lit in your home; calm, thoughtful, relaxed (Fire). What do you do when you need to wash the day away physically and emotionally; shower or bathe (Water)?

If we are not feeling grounded or centered, where do we most often go? Outside for a walk to put our feet in the dirt or hug a tree (Earth). How soothing a gentle breeze  can feel through our hair, or the cleansing feeling of a strong wind off the lake (Air).

There are no words associated with this language—they just sweep over us in a powerful silence and allow us to move into further communication with spoken language.

As adults, we have our lives experiences to aid us in how to communicate. We use the elements to aid our communication without conscious thought, we take a deep breath before speaking (Air). We light candles around our bathtub to help us relax and be centered (Fire and Water.) We exercise outside (Earth). We cook with copper or cast iron pots, wear gold, silver or copper jewelry (Metal).

We can help our children find and meet their communication needs with simple tools.

For example, if you have older children (four and up) you have probably found yourself saying: “Take a deep breath and then tell me what you would like to say.” That breath you are reminding them to take, is to bring into conscious thought the first language of their body. To calm down, center and then speak (Air).

In another instance, your small one has energy that needs to come out in a way that isn’t dumping cereal all over the house, or sitting and throwing toys randomly. Try giving them a copper pot (Metal) with a wooden spoon (Earth) and let them make some noise.

It may mean you wear ear plugs for 10 or more minutes, but it will allow them to get that energy out and move on.

Perhaps a major tantrum is happening at home and nothing you say is helping. Try calmly light matches in front of your child. Let them see the flame burst from the match. Let their own frustrated emotion that they are feeling hold with the flame—as you light the matches move to a candle and keep it lit in a safe place for them to see (Fire).

**Obvious disclaimer here; no matches close to their face or hair; do not let them play with or light matches; keep any candles or fire out of reach of children.

We love the soothing qualities of water. From infants in the bath, to standing in the shower. Give this soothing gift to your child. Let them stand at the sink and run their hands and arms under the water to calm them. Make feet baths fun in your home (Water).

Get outside often. Nature is an amazing remedy for so many moods. Have fun making mud pies, playing in the sand, hugging trees, being barefoot. Bring nature into your home, have a sensory table with outdoor items inside and let them play—yes, you may have to vacuum more, (Earth).

As you move along this journey of communication with your child watch their own individual understanding of their body’s language emerge.

For instance, my son (who is four and a half) takes what he calls ‘wind showers.’ He turns the ceiling fan on high and stands under it; he says it helps him feel peaceful (Air).

As a parent, assist your child in communicating their needs with their body’s first language, so words can follow and flow more smoothly. Watch and learn with them. Help them understand which element can assist in transition into words to express their emotions. Help them become present in the moment with their silent language first and then ask them to help you understand with words. Have fun exploring and recognizing the language of Elements with your child from infant and on. Be creative and simple as you practice communicating in our own quiet speech.

Remember that you were once a child, and that the language of Elements is your first language too. Become conscious of your language and work with it to beautify and assist your communication skills.


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Assistant Editor: Gabriela Magana/Editor: Bryonie Wise

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Emily Hall