I invite you to just take a moment and focus your attention on your heart center in your body. Imagine all of the people, pets, memories, and other significant things resting here. They are being carried with you during your days, helping to make you who you are. Just thinking and being reminded of this can help calm us and help us make decisions according to what matters most to us. Just like adults, children have strong emotional connections and love for people, pets, and memories too, and helping children identify what and who is in their heart can be very significant. I often help children identify this then discuss how they can always think about their hearts and what is important to them to help them feel happy and safe anywhere they go. This can help children tap into an inner peace despite the outward chaos they often endure.
Click HERE for heart space printable page
This activity page can be used in many different ways. I use it to help children understand that they can care about and love many people, pets, memories etc. I find it especially helpful for children in the foster care and adoption system. I have had children light up when they realize they can love their mom, previous foster mom, and adoptive mom and that is OKAY. I have also had children complete them multiple times throughout treatment as they show interest. For example, I had a client in the foster care system who originally made a heart including his mother, brothers, and other biological relatives. He then asked me to complete another one months later and was excited to include his foster parents from the several homes he had lived in since entering care. He was both surprised and excited to receive validation from me that it is okay for him to still love and care about his previous foster mother despite no longer being able to see her. Children who have losses also benefit from validation that they can still love the person and hold both the person and memories of the person in their heart space.
I also have children complete these while their caregivers also fill out their own simultaneously. Children are often surprised and excited to see the similarities and differences between who and what is in their hearts. This can also be especially helpful for children with attachment disorders to visually see themselves in their caregivers heart and see that there is still room for others.
Some children are interested in cutting out the heart and I have had children write or draw on the back of each piece what they do to show that person or pet that they care about them (help mom with dinner, tell foster mom I love her, feed my dog, etc.).
Happy heart space nurturing everyone!