Before we inhabit a world of words, we live in a world of sensations. These physical sensations provide important clues about what is meaningful for us. Bodily sensations are really the foundation for the brain’s process of making decisions “rationally.”

Therefore, when we reflect on our sensations, and help our children reflect on their sensations, we develop a growing awareness about what is really going on internally, and what we could do next. If we ask ourselves and our children what we feel like in our bodies, the answers offer a lot of information. Ask your child, or yourself: How does your stomach feel? Is your heart pounding? Is your neck tight? Has it felt that way before? When? What was going on then? Fostering a growing awareness of bodily sensations will help you figure out what they mean for you and your child. More may be involved in an experience for you or your child than meets the eye or ear. What are your bodily sensations and those of your child trying to communicate?

With an awareness of physical sensations comes added insight and reflection, which will inform you about what to do next. For example, would it help you or your child to take a few deep breaths, ask for a hug, or request ten minutes of time alone?

Bodily sensations are important nonverbal messages. We can all learn and teach our children to be more aware of these full-of-information messages.