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How to use NLP for Kids

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a fascinating field that explores the intricate connection between the mind, language, and human behaviour. While NLP techniques are commonly used in therapy, coaching, and business settings, NLP for Kids is gaining recognition as an effective means to support their growth and development.  

By understanding and harnessing the power of NLP, parents and educators can equip children with valuable tools to navigate challenges, enhance their communication skills, and cultivate a strong sense of self. Read this blog to learn about the uses of NLP for Kids. Using NLP techniques for Kids can help children develop excellent communication skills by teaching them how to build self-confidence, personal development and many more.

Table of Contents 

What is Neuro Linguistic Programming? 

1) NLP techniques for Kids  

2) Why NLP works so well for Kids  

3) Application of NLP for Kids  

4) Conclusion

What is Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)? 

Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP is an approach in Psychology that is utilised to enhance personal development and communication skills in individuals. It explores the relationship between language, behavioural patterns and neurological processes.  

NLP is pivotal in the understanding of the various factors that lead to an individual’s actions, helping them develop themselves in the long run. Their personal development is achieved through a comprehensive understanding of how an individual’s brain generates an internal map to filter the perceived information.  

Moreover, the various techniques in NLP are largely focused on the perceptive modalities of vision, hearing and touch. These modalities can be altered to bring about significant changes in the way individuals perceive anything in their lives. The modifications particularly surround audio, visual and kinaesthetic qualities experienced by the individuals internally. 

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NLP techniques for Kids 

NLP techniques can be applied to Kkids across different age groups. It is important how the NLP technique is applied for Kids, and it needs to also be age- appropriate. An appropriate model must be picked, either by the kids or else by the NLP coach. Such a model could be from various options, such as: 

a) A superhero from any animation, comic book, cartoon series, or a movie 

b) An individual whom the child looks up to, like a sports star 

c) A member of their family or a friend that they admire who demonstrates model behaviour 

d) A school teacher that they admire 

e) A sibling, generally older, whom they admire in a particular context 

f) The ideal version of the child, where demonstrates model behaviour that they feel proud. This could be from a certain moment or context in their life. 

Now that you have understood the examples of models that could be used for the Kids in NLP, here are the various NLP techniques that can be applied for Kids mentioned below: 

Identifying problem behaviour 

This technique entails that the child be given the space to experience a moment where they demonstrate behaviour that they are uncomfortable with. This behaviour could also be disliked by their parent. It is imperative that the child experiences their moment either through visualisation or by talking about it. 

This technique allows them to perceive the moment using their vision, hearing, and touch, as if the moment were happening again. There is a term in NLP known as ‘First perceptual position’, also called as an association. This refers to the current version of the child, where they can be informed about how certain behaviours are not acceptable. 

An important facet of identifying problem behaviour in children is to maintain consistency, avoid over-reactions, and to offer rewards. It is equally important to be positive and pay attention to the good things that the child has done. This can be conveyed through your attention, a smile or a hug.  

Disconnecting the emotion from the problem behaviour 

The next technique involves encouraging the child to exit their current bubble and enter a new bubble. This is where they are given the space to imagine that they can have a look at themselves, with a perception without the emotion. This perspective would be akin to the mindset of a professor or scientist who leaves their emotions behind while engaged in their work. The child could similarly leave their emotions in the previous bubble. 

You could let the child imagine or directly see a movie of themselves in this scenario, in a similar context. Age-appropriate questions could very well be asked to encourage the child to pinpoint the events that occurred. For example, you could ask them about how their behaviour was expressed, maybe through their words or body.

You could further ask them about the responses from other kids or adults, and what they understood as the result of their behaviour. More importantly, the child could be asked about what they really want. This is known as the ‘outcome’ in the NLP approach. Additionally, the position is known as the ‘Third perceptual position’, or the observer. 

Learning new options from a model 

This technique in NLP involves the child being asked to select their preferred model, or to provide them with a model if they are unable to choose one. The child, in this scenario, is now replaced with the chosen model in the movie that they are watching. They will now be encouraged to imagine that same movie, but this time with their chosen model. 

You can then proceed with the same line of questions, pertaining to their behaviour through words or physical gestures, responses from other children or adults, the results of their behaviour, and so on. More importantly, they can be asked if and how the outcome was different in this scenario.  

Learning and adopting new model behaviour 

It will help the child if they are given the chance to watch the same movie repeatedly, without leaving their bubble. A new distinction in this scenario is that they are now also applying the model behaviour in reality. Observe and ask them if the behaviour is what they truly desire to do. 

Practicing the new behaviour and connecting with the new self 

This technique entails guiding the child to return to their first bubble where the NLP process or pattern had first begun. At this point, you could describe to them that this bubble has a very distinct quality now, meaning that it now has various colours, or some form of power which has transformed it in a certain way.  

You could proceed to rehearse the child’s new behaviour with them while especially maintaining eye contact for positive reinforcement and to foster mutual trust. You can again explore the new outcomes in this scenario. 

Future pacing 

At this point, the child can be given the space to envision their future where they want to demonstrate their newfound behaviour again. This scenario would help them visualise using a time machine to go into the future.  

This technique in NLP is called as ‘Future pacing’. Future pacing facilitates visualisation practices in kids, where they get to practice their new behaviours through multiple models. They could also practice enacting their behaviours instead of only imagining it repeatedly.  

More importantly, the NLP Coach or Pracitioner might want to utilise the concept of ‘Anchoring’, wherein they set up a stimulus- response pattern to help the children feel as they desire. Anchoring is basically the process where an internal response is associated with a trigger so that the response can be immediately reactivated. 

Why NLP works well for Kids 

The approach of NLP in Psychotherapy works with individuals on a variety of levels like their beliefs, purpose, behaviour, environment and identity, to name a few. NLP basically encompasses the many factors contributing to how individuals feel or perceive things.

Their ability acts as a catalyst for NLP Practitioners to help them develop new neural pathways, coupled with utmost attention and care. Now, although it is a commendable ability to grasp new information and retain it for the future, the same ability also absorbs discomforting experiences faster. New neural connections made for negative experiences can do more harm than good if left unattended for long.  

Moreover, an NLP approach is very direct in its implementation by focusing only on the desired result, encouraging kids to participate for achieving the end goal. Kids do not need to be pushed too much or nagged into the analysis portion of the process. They may also have learning disabilities like Autism or ADHD, temperament issues or general anxiety, and the NLP approach is ideal for treating all of them. 

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Application of NLP for Kids

Application of NLP for Kids
Each child is unique and has a set of needs, preferences, and learning styles. As you delve into the world of NLP for Kids, it is essential to remember to adapt and tailor some techniques to suit the individual characteristics of the child. Here are some of the applications of NLP for Kids: 

a) Building rapport and establishing trust: Building rapport is crucial for effective communication and connection with children. NLP techniques such as matching and mirroring can establish a sense of communion by subtly imitating a child's body language, tone of voice, and pace of speech. Doing so enables the creation of a trusting relationship, and the child feels more comfortable expressing themselves and engaging in open communication. 

b) Anchoring positive emotions: Anchoring involves associating a specific physical or mental cue with a desired emotional state. For children, this technique can be used to help them access positive emotions in challenging situations.

By pairing a physical gesture or a specific word with a positive experience, such as a sense of accomplishment, joy, or confidence, children can use the anchor to evoke those emotions whenever needed. This technique empowers children to manage their emotions and approach tasks positively. 

c) Visualisations and guided imagery: Visualisations and guided imagery techniques are powerful tools for children to create vivid mental pictures of desired outcomes. By guiding children through imaginary scenarios that involve success, confidence, or overcoming challenges, they can strengthen their belief in their abilities. Visualisations can help children improve performance in various areas, such as academic achievements, sports, or creative pursuits. 

d) Working with submodalities: In the context of NLP, submodalities refer to the sensory qualities of our experiences, such as brightness, size, and location. In NLP, working with submodalities involves changing how children perceive and process their experiences.

If a child has a negative association with a particular situation, such as public speaking, NLP techniques can help them reframe the submodalities associated with that experience. By altering the internal representation of the situation, children can change their emotional responses and develop a more positive outlook.

For example, let's consider a child who fears dogs. The submodalities associated with this fear might include a vivid image of a large, snarling dog, accompanied by anxiety in the pit of their stomach and an internal voice saying, "Dogs are dangerous". These submodalities contribute to the overall intensity and emotional impact of the fear. 

e) Reframing negative beliefs and patterns: Negative beliefs and thought patterns can limit a child's potential and hinder their growth. NLP techniques offer methods for reframing negative beliefs and patterns into more empowering ones. 

Children can develop a more positive self-image and adopt a growth mindset by challenging and replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Reframing in NLP allows children to see setbacks as opportunities for learning and growth, fostering resilience and self-confidence.

f) Effective questioning techniques: Asking effective questions can stimulate children's thinking and encourage self-reflection. NLP techniques emphasise using open-ended questions that promote critical thinking and expand children's perspectives. By asking questions like "What other possibilities are there?" or "How can we solve this problem together?", children are encouraged to explore different perspectives, consider alternatives, and develop problem-solving skills

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The insights gained from using NLP for Kids help improve a child's growth. We hope you learned about NLP for Kids from this blog, its benefits to children, and how it can be implemented effectively. 

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