As a child and teen with mental health challenges the one thing I really needed was emotional, social and personal development skills something that was not taught in schools then and sadly is barely offered now. I really feel that as parents it is our job to find out how we can support our children in this area of their lives, then to use it as essential bonding time. I was excited to discover The Inner Rainbow Project for a tool to do just that which targets girls and importantly boys.
Hi Carly. Welcome to No Mum Is An Island. I am a great believer that no mum or dad should have to do everything themselves, we can’t possibly know it all, and we need all the support we can get, there is a wealth of information out there to help us upgrade our parenting experience, to make our lives easier and this website is a hub for just that! You have upgraded your life by finding your passion for helping others to raise strong, mindful girls and boys, without it having to be confusing, stressful, scary or awkward.
As busy moms, a lot of our best intentions fall to the wayside yet as you say children today need access to emotional, social, and personal development tools that aren’t offered in a mainstream school or media. This is where you step in can you tell us more?
Yes, absolutely. I resonate with what you shared about how you needed those tools for how to deal with your emotions, social world and how to grow personally, and yet they weren’t offered to you in your childhood. That’s the same experience I had, largely because my parents didn’t have access to ways to share this information with me and weren’t taught by their parents either. And, it wasn’t until I was a young adult in my early 20’s, where I really had a chance to know that this kind of learning even existed.
I also like how you bring up the idea that it’s our responsibility as parents to share these kinds of tools and skills, even if they aren’t offered in school. And, that the sharing of the learning can in itself offer the essential bonding time that helps everything feel more grounded and have the learning stick long-term.
So, what exactly are these kinds of tools anyway? Emotional, social and personal development are all big topics are things you build over time and throughout your life.
The way I like to describe it is in terms of the kinds of classes kids could benefit from taking when they’re children and tweens. It’s a way to really ground things for people, because they can envision the potential impact. What if we filled our curriculum with classes to teach concepts and skills that will help children thrive holistically– including academically, financially and all the other things that people express concern over that could be lost if we make this shift?
Parents receive the message, directly and indirectly of, How are we supposed to prepare our kids to succeed as adults in the ‘real world’ if we abandon following the core curriculum and academics with rubrics like grades for ‘soft skills’ like emotional intelligence, social skills and communication skills?
Well, the answer is that there isn’t a way to succeed in these things on a deep, stable level, where one is connected to their heart and their truth, unless the other aspects of development are focused on. There will always be a superficial, outer drive propelling them forward, an idea of a happiness that will come if you just follow the main path. It won’t be rooted in the truth of what the person really wants. There will always be something missing, a sense of longing. That elusive missing piece is what leads people to the unhealthy behaviors and friendships, relationships and environments that they think are the only chance, or respite for what they really want.
All of this simply isn’t true! Or, at least it doesn’t have to be true if you change the narrative for yourself and giving your children freedom to create a new story too.
So, here’s a list of some classes I think are essential and missing from the mainstream education space.
Self-awareness and Intuition
Confidence and Resilience
Self-Expression and Voice
The Inner Rainbow Project is all about offering creative confidence-building and personal growth for children and tweens- and supporting mums in navigating the unique journey of parenting tweens. Can you share any quick practices that support our children’s mental health?
Sure, happy to! When sharing quick practices, the goal is just that- that they’re quick AND powerful. When you can give your child a ‘quick win’ with a tool to support their happiness and balance their emotions, they’ll be able to experience for themselves how it can help them. When they create meaning and feel the shift for themselves, that’s going to be way more effective in having that tool be something they’re motivated to incorporate into their lives and take full advantage of, much more than something you aim to convince them of the benefits of. It’s like that famous quote by Confucius, ‘I hear I forget, I see I remember, I do I understand.’
Some of the favorites I like to share are related to breath, movement and affirmations. These things incorporate mind and body together, so kids have a chance to feel the mind-body connection for themselves and learn how to listen to their body’s wisdom.
Counting Breath and Ocean Breath are two of my favorite breathing exercises to share. They’re easy to remember, and they include a way to ‘drown out thoughts’ by creating words or sound. They help calm the mind and relax the body.
For counting breath, inhale through your nose and count to four. Hold your breath in for a count of four. Exhale through your mouth and count to eight.
With ocean breath, you constrict the back of your throat slightly so your breath makes an ocean sound. Inhale and exhale long, deep breaths through your nose. Allow the sound of your breath to drown out your thoughts.
Affirmations are positive, concise statements that help you visualize and believe in the truth of what you’re declaring.
The thoughts your children have about themselves becomes their internal talk. Their internal talk forms their beliefs about themselves and their place in the world. It affects children’s mental health. One way you can help your children learn how to harness the power of their thoughts is by teaching them how to use affirmations.
I encourage people to build their own collection of affirmations that have meaning to them and can support you in different ways.
For example, it’s important to have an affirmation to help you build confidence, like ‘I am strong.’ Yet sometimes, you don’t want to build your power, you want to calm your mind. So, it’s also helpful to use an affirmation like, I am peaceful,.’
All forms of movement support mental health. I think it’s important to help children find physical activities and movement forms that resonate with them. So, it’s something they’ll be internally motivated to do even when they don’t ‘have to’, and they’ll also improve their mental health even more with the addition of the element of joy they have for the activity.
If you’re feeling like your child could benefit from more physical activity, my suggestion would be to give them as much voice and participation in the choice as possible. Movement can be something like a walk, maybe a walk to discover somewhere new, or with a little scavenger hunt element to it. I’m always thinking of ways to get a resistant child to actually want to participate and to add in more fun.
Other ideas are home dance parties, yoga poses, sports — whatever helps them move their bodies, free up stuck energy and release stress.
We are big fans of the Chakra Girls Cards can you tell us a bit more about them and how we can use them with our daughters.
I’m so glad you find them valuable! The Chakra Girls Spirit Cards are most easily described as chakra oracle cards for girls.
Oracle cards and the chakra system have been essential tools in supporting my personal growth. Many of the moms I work with use both for empowerment and to connect with their inner knowing. Their daughters are seeing them make these powerful connections, seeing how they can shift energy and mood, and yet, the images, the concepts and messages of their mom’s cards aren’t readily accessible to them. They aren’t simple enough, in relatable language, don’t offer relevant mantras or activity suggestions and aren’t drawn in the style that modern kids are drawn towards. I wanted to create something to meet that need, just for kids, but without sacrificing depth.
The Chakra Girls Spirit Cards help you connect with all of your inner powers and discover your best, happiest self. Each one of the color categories aligns with one of the chakras and shares certain themes, affirmations, tools and ideas to help you learn to feel balanced and happy. As you use the cards, you’ll build your own system for how to balance your chakras, emotions and thoughts, and how to feel the way you want to feel. Basically, to be the best YOU you can be.
You have just launched your new project Chakra Boys. So few of these sorts of projects aimed at boys. Can you tell us more?
Yes! I’m so excited about this new element and the potential it has to help a lot of boys feel comfortable about who they truly are and to express all parts of themselves. My roots in research on emotional and social development include working with boys as well. Even though there can be a cultural impression that boys don’t have as deep a connection to their emotions and friendships as girls, research shows it’s not true to their personal experiences. When boys are given the chance to share their true voice, they share experiences of depth of emotion and authentic friendships. It’s becoming a commonly known statistic that girls experience a drop in their self-esteem in the tween years. They start to quiet their voices and tone down their power.
What’s not as commonly shared is that something similar happens to boys, but it happens even younger, during the preschool years, when they get the message of what it means to ‘be a boy/man’. They aren’t encouraged to cry, express emotions or vulnerability and they soon learn how they’re supposed to be, look and act like, in order to be accepted and good.
While there are still clear inequalities for girls that I believe need and deserve special focus, boys, and everyone, including those who don’t identify with gender, are in equal need for access to tools to improve mental health.
This new project aims to support a shift in our culture where boys are free and safe to express their true selves, which includes all of their emotions and vulnerabilities, interests that may not historically be identified as masculine–whatever it is that holds them back from being their whole, true selves. I created the Chakra Boys to support this mission and to expand the access of using the chakra system as a framework to approach to children’s mental health to more people.
How can doing work like this with our sons and daughters make our own parenting journey easier?
Great question. The answer is SO MUCH. The main thing I think of is that without doing this work, parents are left with what I call the ‘Box of Bandaids’ approach. When there’s no foundational or preventative teaching of tools like managing stress, dealing with a mean friend, overcoming self-doubt, gaining the courage to share your ideas in front of others, how to not take your anger out on others, when all of these things inevitably do come up, parents are then forced to run around finding an effective solution. What happens, is that the solution only acts as a bandaid. There’s not usually time to integrate the tool, to practice it, become good at it, apply it to different situations, because there’s another life issue waiting in the wings that you’ll need to attend to. On the other hand, when you share mental health tools and intentionally practice them with your sons and daughters as a given, BEFORE there are any red flags, issues, or wounds already surfacing, it will make things significantly easier for you. And, most importantly, because I know that as parents we’d all like things to be a little easier, but even more than that, we want our kids to be happy and have that happiness last throughout their lives. That’s what we’re really doing when we share this work.
What do you offer for mums who want to work with you or find out more?
The Chakra Kids Empowerment Journey is an excellent place to start to build a foundation for mental health your children can learn and use on their own throughout their lives. This is coming out the first week in April. And, as long as you’re on my mailing list, you’ll be the first to find out when it’s available.
For moms who want more support on their own parenting journey, I would recommend the Lightkeeper Sessions course. You will access a powerful 30-day practice and short, potent trainings to support you building your own self-love and confidence, along with improving your relationship with your child. This course is especially focused on the nuances of the mother-daughter relationship and overcoming generational patterns of being a ‘good girl’ by quieting your voice.
For those who need and want even more personalized support, for how to tailor the approach to support special learners, mental, behavioral and emotional health challenges and personality style, I offer private 1:1 VIP support, utilizing my background as a special education teacher and licensed psychotherapist.
And, if you’re not ready to dive into a course, you can access all of the power, magic and wisdom with any of the Chakra Kids products and free resources I share on my site and Etsy shop. You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook.
I just started a new FB group for people who want to support their children’s mental health through the power of yoga and the chakras. You can find that HERE
Since you mentioned the Chakra Girls Cards, here’s a new freebie I created that I think your audience will enjoy. It’s a DIY oracle cards deck that features the Chakra Girls and the new Chakra Boys characters. When your kids are done with this hands-on activity, they’ll have created a powerful tool to balance their emotions and improve their mental health.