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Ways to Channel Your Inner Child

What is the inner child and why does it matter? Your inner child is a manifestation of who you were in childhood, nestled deep within your consciousness.

Reparenting and healing your inner child can help you on your journey to treating trauma, anxiety, and more. 

So, how can you channel this child within you? Read on to learn how you can reach back into your childhood self and set off on a path to healing.

What Is the Inner Child?

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The concept of the inner child is largely credited to psychiatrist Carl Jung. Jung described it as an inner archetype connected to past experiences of innocence, being playful, being creative, and feelings of hope. 

Reconnecting with this part of yourself and reparenting yourself can be some intense work as it can bring up vulnerable feelings, but it can also be delightful. Do note that it can be very helpful to work with a therapist as you explore this concept.

The following are some simple ways to reconnect with the young parts of yourself. 

Get Messy.

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Some of the most childlike activities are the most simple (and messiest) ones. Channel your inner child by getting messy doing something you enjoy, whether it’s an activity from your childhood or an adult hobby you have developed.

It could be anything from planting a garden with your hands in the dirt, doing arts and crafts as you get messy with the paint supplies, trying a new recipe as you totally destroy your kitchen, redecorating your home by playing DIY builder, and more. Whatever springs to mind will work, just abandon all the rules and make a fun, playful mess with yourself and your inner child.

 

Have a Dance Party With Yourself.

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Sometimes letting loose is the best medicine. Put on some music you loved when you were a kid and unapologetically dance. You don’t need to follow any set choreography or have any dancing talent.

This activity is all about just moving to the beats and rhythms as you relive happy moments you may have had as a child. Movement holds a lot of power for the mind.

Think about a time when you were younger and had no shame or embarrassment about expressing yourself. Maybe you used to make up dances with your friends, were involved in a dance group, or fondly recall a dance event like Homecoming from your school years. Let your inner child thrive as you move to the music.

Try Mirror Work.

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Looking in the mirror and talking to yourself might sound a little daunting, but mirror work is an effective way to more authentically connect with yourself—and especially your inner child. We spend much of our time talking negatively to ourselves, which gets us nowhere. You can even likely link your feelings of shame or inadequacy back to childhood.

Go inward to consider why you speak negatively to yourself and when practicing mirror work, speak positive affirmations to yourself, such as “I matter,” “I am worthy,” or “I love myself.” Look for several moments at yourself, and really believe these words. Go back to how you would feel if your past child self heard these words—chances are, they would be grateful.

 

Write a Letter to the Young Version of You.

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If you want to dive deep into inner child work, write a letter from “adult you” to “kid you.” This writing exercise is a great way to unpack your thoughts and emotions about who you were then versus who you are now. Write to yourself about anything that feels fitting for you, and maybe even pull out a photo of yourself as a kid to visualize.

Some ideas to get you started may be: giving your inner child advice or guidance, talking about how proud you are of little you, encouraging young you to be themselves, or sharing with your child self about your accomplishments as an adult. You may also like to take it a step further and try writing with your non-dominant hand. This is a good way to tangibly feel more childlike as you “learn” to write.

 

Mindfully Color or Draw Without Distractions.

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Clear your headspace and channel your inner child by going back to the artsy basics. Coloring and drawing are likely common activities you participated in as a child. Engaging in creativity as an adult has a positive impact no matter if you’re doing it to channel your inner child or simply doing something you love.

When you color, try to dissuade yourself from perfectionism. Children are not worried about making their coloring page perfect—they just want to color. So proudly color outside of the lines, remembering that it’s simply about the childlike action of being creative without any preconceived rules.

 

Make Time to Play and Be Silly.

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Have you ever watched children just having a total ball being silly? Or maybe silently playing in their own little world? Go back in time and experience this for yourself. No matter what you decide to do, don’t make it serious or overly organized. The point is to just be completely your weird and wonderful self as you explore the things that made you smile or laugh as a kid.

Letting loose to genuinely play as a kid is a great way to relearn how to connect with yourself. Maybe you can jump and play in rain puddles, make up a game, write a story, play with clay, or anything else you might like. Use this as a chance to schedule regular play into your lifestyle—adults need a fun break just as much as kids. 

 

Journal About Your Childhood Memories.

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Whether your childhood memories are good, bad, or a total jumbled mix, journaling about them is an excellent way to get all of those feelings down on paper and out of your headspace while reconnecting with that innocent part of past you. Remember that as you journal about these memories, they are just that–memories–not something happening to you now.

Try to remember as many happy times as you can, and if you can’t, just sit with those emotions now and realize how far you’ve come as you jot down your thoughts. Take out an old photo album to help you visualize the memories and just write whatever comes to your mind as you bond with little you.

 

Talk to Yourself as Though You Were a Child.

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The way in which we speak to ourselves has a massive impact on the condition of our psyche. Many of us engage in negative self-talk, constantly criticizing ourselves and feeling let down by this or that thing. Talking to yourself as though you were a child is a great way to reach within to that past innocent version of yourself and reassure yourself.

You wouldn’t talk to a child in an insulting or judgmental way, so extend this same courtesy to your inner child as well. Your subconsciousness is always listening to you and adapting accordingly to what you say, so make sure it’s good.

 

Practice an Inner Child Meditation.

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Meditation is a known practice that can help with past trauma. It’s a wonderful way to connect with your inner child by practicing mindfulness, allowing you to visualize and access the well-hidden childlike part of yourself. Try listening to an inner child meditation, where you peel back all the years and layers of yourself to reach back into your childhood.

Visualize your adult self giving yourself a tight embrace full of love and support for the kid version of you. Listen to what your inner child may have to say, and as the words come to you and embody yourself in a warm cocoon of nurturing self-love.

 

Have a Game Night.

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You probably loved playing games as a kid, whether it was board games, video games, playground games, the list goes on and on. Games are a central part of who we were as children, helping us learn, engage, and collaborate with our fellow players.

Pull out an old board game you used to love as a kid and play with just yourself, or with loved ones. Or, pop in an old game in your Playstation and enjoy the process of replaying your familiar character. Savor the nostalgia as it comes flooding back as you bond with your inner child.

 

Visit an Amusement Park or a Circus.

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Were you one of those kids who got so excited for your family’s trip to the amusement park that you barely slept all night? You probably also sat in the back seat lamenting, “are we there yet?!” Recall your fun days spent riding rollercoasters, winning prizes, and eating all the junk food in the world.

These may have been some of your best memories, so treat yourself to an adult trip to an amusement park with your friends as you let your inner child loose to fully enjoy all the best parts of being a kid.

Watch Movies or Read Books You Loved as a Kid.

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Chances are, you have a few favorite movies or books from childhood that you lost yourself in whenever you watched or read them. Reconnect with your inner child by taking the time to have a kid-friendly movie night with yourself.

Make yourself some popcorn, wrap up in a cozy blanket, and go all in on the childhood vibes. Go to the library one day and check out some of your favorite childhood novels. Stay up late with a flashlight under your covers because you can’t wait to finish the last chapter. Your inner child will thank you.

Hang out With Some Actual Kids.

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What’s the best way to truly remember your childhood? By hanging out with REAL kids! Enjoy some time playing with children as you turn back time to your own childhood. Watch how they interact, play, imagine, and express themselves.

You’ve probably forgotten a lot of what you did during childhood, so reconnect with that part of yourself as you let real kids teach you to remember what it was that made childhood so magical. Listen to them tell their stories, go along with their made-up worlds, and just enjoy the laughter and pure happiness kids exude.

 

Go to Therapy if Needed.

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Ultimately, going deep with inner child work is hard. These practices may seem fun and simple, but there’s truly not much that is fun or simple about treating past trauma that may have begun in your childhood years.

If you find yourself struggling more than usual with difficult emotions surrounding your childhood, it’s ideal to set up an appointment with a therapist who can help you unpack tough feelings and talk you through the inner child work. Yes, you can have fun with channeling your inner child, but the real work of going within can take a lot of effort. Always remember to be kind to yourself. 

Sources: Healthline, PsychCentral, Relationship Enrichment Center

 

20 Questions for Self Discovery

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Looking to reconnect with who you are and what matters to you?