The Frail Child

I have recently  been observing many children and they seem so frail.  They are not only frail physically, with spindly arms and legs (and no, I don’t want them to be fat!) but no hint or curve of any muscle mass.   They don’t seem to be able to carry anything for themselves.  They  appear to  have low endurance for running and playing and tend to pick sedentary things to do.

Many times, they also seem frail emotionally, falling apart at the least hint of anything not going the way they think it should.  Now, this absolutely can be “normal” for small children under the age of 9 who are going through stages of  developmental disequilibrium.  I think of children as having an excess of emotion when they are under the age of nine.  So, it is up to your discernment as a parent to decide if your child’s emotional state is normal for his or her age or if it is something that indeed needs “balancing out.”

Here are some ideas to help bolster up the seemingly frail child:

  • STOP TALKING!  Especially tone down your discussion of world events, crime, family drama in front of this child.  Offer limited choices.  This child needs to heal and really needs you to carry this weight of what they will wear or eat, and other little choices.  And before you decide this idea is ridiculous, try it and see if it changes anything in your family.  🙂
  • Watch your language – please stop commenting in front of your child about how sensitive, high needs, etc they are.  You are giving them an image of themselves that you yourself are creating!
  • No media.  See if you can cut back on your own personal use of media in front of this child.
  • Lots of time outside in nature for playing, wandering, dreaming  and doing more physical tasks such as walking on a log over a stream, climbing, etc.
  • Gardening is very healing.
  • FAMILY times of doing ACTIVE things – hiking, roller skating, ice skating, bike riding
  • Warmth – warming foods, nourishing foods and warm layers.  Hats, warm shoes. 
  • Emotional warmth – tell this child you LOVE them.  Meditate and pray over this child whilst they are asleep at night.
  • Adjust your own attitude – picture this child as rosy-cheeked and zooming around. Tell your child several times a day how fast they are, how strong their arms and legs are, how helpful they are.
  • De-mechanize your home so they have something to DO.  Wash dishes by hand at least once a day, rake instead of using that leaf blower thing, hang out laundry to dry, plant and garden and let them haul things around.
  • Stories – nourishing stories of nature for the four year old, simple nature stories and fairy tales for the five-year old, moving into even more fairy tales for the six and seven year old, and I even like Russian fairy tales for the eight year old and Asian fairy tales for the nine-year old. 
  • Healing COLOR.  For a prime example, check out these beautiful and nourishing  photographs of a workshop Suzanne Down did:  Just gorgeous!
  • Expect your child to contribute with chores and in areas of pet and household care with your physical presence right there – the child can weave in and out if they are under the age of 7, but do the same thing at the same time every day for this child’s chore.
  • REST and SLEEP times.  Warmth – tuck one of those cherry stones in their bed if need be or a hot water bottle, warm flannel sheets, warm pajamas.  Calm nighttimes where the house goes to sleep and you all say good night to the world.
  • Check into any of the following as they resonate with you: flower essences, homeopathy, cranial sacral work for support for your growing and developing child.

I hope this is helpful to you all.

Many blessings,


12 thoughts on “The Frail Child

  1. Thank you for acknowledging the existence and offering help for these children. I have been blessed with a child who has had trouble incarnating. She reflects perfectly my own struggles. Life is very different for those children whom are extra sensitive. It is a lovely lesson in compassion to witness their growth and development.

  2. Thanks for these reminders. We just moved across the country to a city and put our sensitive child in French Immersion grade 1 (the rest of the kids started in K). He is a bit frail these days.

    Question, though: what do you do when they don’t WANT to be warm. I am always trying to encourage my boys to put on hats and mits, to wear extra layers, to drink warm food. But they want to be cold. My 6 yr old insists on running around outside (in chilly fall weather) without a shirt in our back yard. He refuses to play if we make him put clothes on. Its ridiculous, but I don’t need one more battle right now, so shirtless he goes out to play.

    • Hi Jill,
      Good luck to your son this school year! Your question about warmth is a common one…I think my answer to this is that if you think it is vitally important to him, then you will make it a priority but not a battle. By that I mean that you simply say, When you put this on, you may go out to play. If he refuses to play, then that is what he is doing, but you are holding the boundary that you think is vitally important. 🙂 My guess is if you hold it he will get over it. At six, his system of temperature regulation is not fully developed at all yet, so he may not be the best judge of it yet.
      Here is to good health for our children!
      Hope that helps,

  3. Hi Carrie,
    Thank you for this post. I was blessed with a very sensitive little girl and after the day we had today…..I was in tears until I read this post.

    We just began our journey homeschooling inspired by Waldorf education. Your suggestions in your post are wonderful!!!! I am going to implement them. We are still finding our way since we are late to Waldorf. Do you have any other suggestions as to where I could find guidance in this type a Waldorf lifestyle as well as education? Thanks so much. Many Blessings! Maria

    • Maria- try searching the category section. Some mothers just go back month by month and scroll – you will see the categories and the months listing on the side of the blog.
      How old is your little girl and perhaps I can recommend some reading for you? A good place to start is Steiner’s “Kingdom of Childhood” or his “Soul Economy”

  4. Thanks Carie! This one really speaks to me (I know I am guilty of this… so was may Mom and it still has an impact on my own perception of myself) :

    Watch your language – please stop commenting in front of your child about how sensitive, high needs, etc they are. You are giving them an image of themselves that you yourself are creating!

    But when I am mad, I tend to have verbal diarrhea… No matter how hard I try, how much inner work I do, how much praying and talking to the angels… this is an area where I seem to be really bad at…

    Any insights?

    • Hi Catherine! Search under verbal spillage…I know there is a back post about that somewhere! So many of us are working on that exact issue, I may have to write another post on it!
      Many blessings,

  5. Hey Carrie

    I am trying to find out more about colors. What are healing colors for little ones? We are moving, and I need to choose the colors for their bedroom. Any places where I could read on that?


    • Neptune – for under 7s, we tend to think the peaches, red, oranges..I know everyone says “PeachBlossom” for the under 7 child, but that was for a classroom, not a child’s bedroom and also Steiner seemed to assign colors of rooms based on a specific and individual school…..Steiner did a whole series of lectures on Colour, have you seen those?
      Many blessings,

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