We see a little boy’s growing ability to listen to his own body & what it is telling him, as he makes connections between body sensations, emotions, thoughts & behaviour. On his journey of self-discovery, he rides his first rollercoaster; meets the challenge of finding his little sister has messed up his newly completed jigsaw puzzle & has his first day at school. The story & the practice activities encourage sensory awareness & mindfulness. This picture book is a simple & helpful guide to becoming more aware of our inner world.
A child first learns about themself & the world around them in relationships with their main caregivers. Loving adults delight in their small child & provide lots of opportunities & commentaries to help their child to make sense of themselves & their experiences. They soothe their child when upset, angry or frightened & help them work out what they need. Through such interactions, the child learns how to self-regulate & becomes confident in understanding & trusting their own body & mind. A child with developmental trauma has not experienced enough good care or soothing early in life & may well have experienced abuse, so they can develop a very fragmented sense of self. They may shut down their capacity to feel sensations or emotions, to protect themselves from the painfulness of past experiences & a world perceived as a frightening & unsafe place.
Many adoptive parents & carers in family therapy have spoken to me of how their child struggles to know whether they are hot or cold, hungry, or full; whether they have hurt themselves, are tired or full of energy, or how they think & feel about any of these things. The child makes poor choices around self-care & is reluctant to allow adults to help them. How important then to find resources to help a traumatised child reconnect with their body & mind in more caring ways, & to find confidence to reach out to others again.
Listen to My Body provides guidance for adults to help their child engage in self-reflection & the sensory activities. There are suggestions for practicing alone or involving a helper – perfect for a child who needs to retain control & is still learning to accept support. The gentle exploration of different body states & emotions, & the invitation to curiosity, kindness & acceptance of all that we find, can help a hurt child to re-learn that their body is their friend.