How to Apply the Anchoring Technique with Children?
Today, we want to tell you how to apply the anchoring technique with children. Children don’t yet have the same resources as adults when it comes to understanding and managing their emotions. Therefore, they can be very affected by stressful, disappointing, or sad everyday situations that they don’t know how to deal with. This is when the anchoring technique can be of great help to them.
After all, although it may seem otherwise, children also face challenges every day. And, because of their limited life experience, they may feel confused and trapped in emotional states that they don’t know how to get out of. Children often get stuck in anger, crying, or frustration simply because they don’t know how to cope with those emotions. And it’s precisely this objective that anchoring pursues.
What is the anchoring technique?
The anchoring technique consists of associating a certain stimulus with a specific emotional state. Without realizing it, we experience anchoring of all kinds in our daily lives. For example, when a smell brings back the clear memory of a loved one who is no longer with us and immediately makes us sad. Or when we hear a song that we associate with a fun moment and instantly our mood improves.
We have anchors with places, with people, with objects… In short, these were strongly impregnated with a specific emotion in the past. And, even today, they’re able to bring us back to that same emotional state.
The technique simply reproduces this phenomenon in a conscious and deliberate way. It’s a matter of intentionally associating emotions of calm, happiness, or confidence with stimuli. And then, we can resort to this same stimuli in order to feel this way.
How to apply it?
To apply it, the following steps must be followed:
- Identify the emotion we want to anchor. For example, a state of total relaxation.
- Choose a situation in which we experienced that emotional state in the past. For this example we could use the memory of a day we took a trip to the countryside and lied down to rest in the sun after lunch. We’ll have to relive the feeling of calm, of tranquility, remember the sound of the birds or the brook, and the sensation of the sun gently warming our skin.
- Decide which stimulus we’re going to anchor. In this case, we could use the gesture of covering our eyes with one hand.
- Then, to perform the anchoring, we’ll have to relive the sensation of that moment in the field. And, when we feel completely relaxed, perform the gesture of covering our eyes and remain feeling calm. As we repeat the exercise, our mind will relate that particular gesture to the feeling of absolute relaxation. So, when we go through a stressful situation, simply covering our eyes will be enough to shift us into a state of peace.
How to apply the anchoring technique with children?
There are several ways to apply this technique with children so that they can use it to their advantage in their daily lives. For example, we can draw a circle on the floor of their room and ask the child to remember a situation in which they felt very happy, very loved, and self-confident. And, when they already have the memory, ask them to step into the circle to anchor it.
Next, we can ask them to recall a time when they experienced insecurity, nervousness, or fear. Then, we’ll encourage them to enter the circle and notice how those emotions transform into happiness and security when they’re inside.
We can also anchor an object, like a charm, so that the child can carry it with them and use it whenever they want. Or we can associate the emotion to a body gesture that can be performed anywhere.
For example, if one day, while doing homework the child understands the math exercises very well and does them perfectly, we can anchor the pencil they’ve been using to the emotion of feeling confident in their abilities. This way, they can take it with them on exam day and evoke that feeling of pride and self-confidence.
By teaching the child to use the anchoring technique, we’re providing them with a valuable and simple resource for dealing with adverse situations.
They’ll learn to manage their emotions and transform them into more positive ones instead of being overwhelmed or trapped in negative feelings. They’ll know how to provide themselves with a state of calm, happiness or security.