Kid Therapy

I’ve been sending my kids to therapy regularly for a long time now. I’ve insisted on it since they were babies. After spending too many consecutive days indoors, my kids will relapse in behavior; a sign that they need some therapy.
Like a woman waiting too long before re-dying her hair, their behavior becomes very unattractive and hard to ignore. They get hyperactive and run around the house like jungle monkeys or want to play outside games inside, and the frequency of their bickering escalates. They whine or complain about doing chores, get impatient and have fits when something they’re trying to fix or make, doesn’t work. They’ll also frequently display short-temperedness. They like what their therapist does to help them handle daily stress, and benefit from her services every time they visit. She has a way of making therapy enjoyable and my kids anticipate future visits. You may have heard of their therapist because she’s known worldwide. She goes by the name of Mother Nature and was my therapist as a kid also. She’s kind of old-school in her treatment strategies, but also the reason why I like her.
The type of therapy my kids receive often encourages using their five senses. Okay, maybe not tasting so much anymore, but that was an important sense to them their first year when they wanted to know what sand, grass, bugs, rocks, and dirt tasted like. Many of their sessions also involve interaction with animals which might include running around with the family dog Pepper, finding, catching, and petting the barn kittens, or riding horses.
Mother Nature encourages them to use their imagination, be themselves (or somebody else if they choose), explore new ideas, exercise their bodies—often in the form of serious energy burning—and their minds. I like it that her office is not conducive to overstimulation. They get just enough stimulation to occupy their curious minds for long periods of time. It’s a particularly productive session if they go to therapy clean and come home dirty—often a big part of their visits. Whenever a lot of progress is made, they’re usually too tired to worry or stress about anything at the end of the day, which helps them sleep at night too.
My kids have never had a bad therapy session, unless not being able to go counts. They’re always eager to share with me the exciting things they discovered, learned or did, and come back refreshed and happy.
I also like that my kids’ therapist listens and allows them to discover and figure things out for themselves using their original thoughts. She doesn’t find it necessary to take over and lets them carry out their own ideas. Her office is a safe place to be creative, learn, wonder, challenge, question, find out, experiment, and explore. As a busy parent, a perk to Mother Nature’s services is her availability. Her door’s open 24/7 and takes walk-ins.
What I love most about Mother Nature is her expertise in dealing with boredom syndrome, which is quite common among children. Take it from me, if you have kids with boredom syndrome, call on Mother Nature. She’ll see them right away and has an uncanny way of treating the problem in a day.
Column originally published May 24-30, 2009

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