CLARENCE, N.Y. — Most kids are now settling into the new school year, but some might be having trouble adjusting emotionally.
They might be anxious, nervous, or scared, and parents may often feel helpless.
Now the owner of a wellness center in Clarence is using mindfulness, yoga, and a new trend of tapping to help kids deal with their emotions.
"When the pandemic hit, I started noticing changes in my own two kids. With the shootings in Buffalo, I thought what can I do? I just had this need to help my community out. And this is where the idea of the mindfulness kids classes came in," said holistic life coach Lana Shapiro.
Shapiro opened the Soul Healing Center at 9055 Main Street in Clarence in May. Using her mental health therapy background, she tries to help children handle their emotions.
"So many parents are desperate now to just get something for their children to help them feel better. It seems like our children's therapists are overwhelmed and they can't get kids into therapy these days. There are long waiting lists. So I decided to just offer another outlet," said Shapiro.
The 45 minute class starts with breathing exercises and stretching. Shapiro then folds in yoga through games. That is followed by EFT which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, a tapping technique that is trending on social media.
"It actually creates this chemical reaction within their body when they tap on certain acupressure points it sends a signal to their brain to calm their central nervous system down. They don't need to be consciously aware of what it is that they're feeling, they just know that they're feeling something that's uncomfortable and they want to try to release it and that's where the tapping comes in. It helps their body release whatever it is that they're holding onto," explained Shapiro.
She taps gently on 9 acupressure points, and in each spot, has the children repeat a mantra. "Even though I'm feeling anxious (scared, sad, angry, frustrated), I'm still a good kid, and I'm ok."
The exercise takes only 5 minutes to do and it's effective in adults as well.
"And eventually they get to the point that they don't need to do the tapping. They just need to think about it and that signal will get sent into their brain to help them calm down. So it's actually pretty amazing how it works," Shapiro said.
Parents can watch the classes and then help their kids use the techniques at home, or out and about, when they're feel upset, and eventually the kids can help themselves.
"I thought this might be good for him to have ways to calm himself down when he gets upset," said Kassy Larossa, a mother of two.
"Of course when we're around we can help them, but you're always nervous when you send your kid to school you want them to use what they've learned and calm themselves down."
The classes wrap up with positive affirmation and then a craft or sensory activity to help kids connect their mind, body and soul.
"One of the best things I see is when kids come in here and they're really nervous and then by the end of the class I see them completely come out of their shell which is pretty amazing to see," Shapiro said.
The Soul Healing Center also offers Reiki healing and life coaching services. To find out more, click the website here.