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Tackling childhood obesity: hypnosis for children

07:50pm, 09/01/14

BurgerWe all know those “whoops” moments when one of our children says something embarrassing – let me tell you, they are just as awkward when we see them happen on national television! During a programme about school meals, a primary school had made changes to their lunch menu to introduce healthy options and a child was asked how he liked the new menu. The child said that the new menu was good because the items on it were tastier than the food he ate at home! Obviously his parents will have to up-skill their cooking to make the food they give him more appealing in future.

Getting children to eat healthily seems like a time-old struggle for parents, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Hypnosis can be helpful in reducing cravings for sugary and processed foods. It can also be used to encourage kids to be more active and confident in sport and generally improve their sense of well-being. Childhood obesity is on the rise and unless something is done soon, there will be huge health implications in the future when these children grow up.

Childhood obesity

The current rates of childhood obesity are staggering: approximately 25-33% of all boys and girls aged 2-19 in the UK are either overweight or obese – and this trend shows no sign of slowing down soon. Childhood obesity is linked with a multitude of health problems, including: type 2 diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, cancer, musculo-skeletal problems, sleeping disorders and more. Obese children are also likely to grow up to be obese adults where they will be significantly more likely to experience premature death or disability, all as a result of their unhealthy lifestyles. If this truly is the first generation of children that will fail to outlive their parents, clearly something has to change!

Hypnosis for children

Children playingFortunately, children are far more susceptible to hypnosis than adults. Children have a very strong sense of imagination and are thus far easier to induce into a state of hypnosis – to them the experience seems like one of their typical daydreams. Also, because children are in such a strong learning phase of their life, they are more likely to approach hypnosis as just another exciting new experience. Many adults approach hypnosis with trepidation, usually due to negative preconceptions or misinformation – children lack this conditioning so are much more willing to lower their guards and fully give themselves to the experience, which gives great results!

Of course, there are certain nuances that an experienced hypnotist will be aware of when working with children. Sometimes the parent will stay in the room just to confirm to the child that hypnosis is a safe and positive experience, but other times the child may prefer to be alone so they don’t feel as if they are under their parent’s watchful eye. It’s important to have a chat with the child and the parent about what they have come in for, how long they’ve been dealing with the problem and what exactly they’d like the end result to be. It’s also important to talk to children in a way that is appropriate for their age, and use language that they will relate to. For younger children, posing the session as a game in using their imagination can yield great results, particularly when combined with some role-playing or with the use of toys or other objects.

Other areas of benefit to children

There are several other areas of problems where hypnosis can be used to benefit children:

- Lack of focus in school
- Bed wetting and nail biting
- Phobias and nightmares
- Under-performing in sports
- Shyness, stuttering and other speech related issues
- Dealing with traumatic events such as divorce

(Photos by Crownhurst and vinnyprime)

© 2012 Don Ely, all rights reserved . last update: 23/11/17