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Unlocking Imagination: The Benefits of Floating for Children

Updated: Jun 6

Thanks to platforms like YouTube and TikTok, children are discovering the benefits of floating at an early age. This blog serves as a compilation of our top tips for introducing your youngster to the world of floating.



Our youngest Float Club Member started floating at the age of 10, and this year she’s approaching 13! You can catch a glimpse of her journey in this testimonial video, adding a touch of her unique, adorable charm.




Why do kids want to float?

What do they have to stress about? While they may not be burdened with adult responsibilities, children face their own unique stresses. Whether it's coping with social dynamics or managing anxiety, floating offers them a sanctuary to unwind and explore.


Here's why floating can be particularly beneficial for children:

 

Imagination

Us old folks can get caught up in the mundane, sometimes rolling through the to-do list (which still makes for a productive float), but children emerge from floats with vivid experiences, exploring new worlds and unleashing boundless creativity.

 

Young humans are some of our favourite people to host because their imagination hasn’t been dimmed by the reality of adulting.



“I’m bored….”

In an age of constant stimulation, boredom has become a lost art. Yet, it's in moments of stillness that creativity flourishes and resilience builds. Back in my day, the family screen was 24” and only offered the same 5 VHS tapes. Somehow, my youth was still ripe with adventure. From smashing home runs in Yankee stadium, manifesting a flying fishpond, and building a fortress hidden deep in the woods complete with a moat and trolls. The only limit was what I could dream up. I'm so grateful now for all that boredom.

 

Boredom can help develop skills, creativity, self-esteem and problem-solving, while giving the brain time to recharge. For kids to excel at the highest level anything, they need equal rest and recovery times. Floating is an excellent way to show your kid how much fun boredom can be.

 

Digital Detox

The battle over screen time rages on in many households and it’s an important one because “Screen media overuse is associated with poor sleep quality, shorter sleep duration, greater likelihood for overweight/obesity, lower executive functioning, poorer academic performance, and increased internalizing and externalizing problems." [Journal of Pediatric Health Care]. “It can impair emotional comprehension, promote aggressive behavior, and hinder social and emotional competence." [National Library of Medicine].

 

Floating is an opportunity to turn off your device, and tune into you and really instill the reasons for doing so.


Decision Making

Floating allows you to become intimately familiar with yourself and tunes your ability to recognize subtle signs of discomfort or unease. It's never too early to learn how to tune into you body, mind, and intuition, a skill that is invaluable for people of all ages. When confronted with peer pressure, having a strong sense of self-awareness enables children to make wise choices. The more adept they become at identifying potential risks and aligning their actions with their values, the greater their likelihood of making sound decisions when faced with challenging situations.

 

Anxiety

Anxiety is the most common mental health problem in young people. About 3% of Canadian children or youth experience an anxiety disorder. [Canadian Mental Health Association]. Most parents aren’t thrilled at the prospect of medicating their child and altering their brain chemistry. Floating offers a natural alternative to medication with no known negative side effects.

 

Floating is clinically shown to significantly increase serenity and overall mood, while reducing feelings of state anxiety and blood pressure. Dive deeper into the details about floating and anxiety in this blog post.

 



Self Love & Compassion

So far in this life, I can’t think of a time when I could use have used more self compassion and understanding than in my formative years. If only I had had a float tank then, who knows who I might be today. The pressures on young people to figure out who they are and who they want to be, while navigating the unrealistic standards of the media, peers, and social media at large is insane. Bullies used to be limited to the classroom and now they follow you home in your pocket and come from all over the world.

 

The comfort you feel inside a float tank has a way of gently guiding your thoughts away from negative self talk, and towards a bigger feeling of connectiveness with yourself, all living beings, and our planet at large.

No where is this more evident than in Dr. Sahib Khalsa’s work at the Laurette Institute for Brain Research where inpatients being treated for anorexia nervosa were randomly selected to receive Float Therapy in addition to their regular care routines. They reported immediate and repeated reductions in body image dissatisfaction and improved anxiety relative to a comparison group of anorexia nervosa inpatients. Further, the body image improvements in the floatation-REST group remained after the treatment and lasted for up to six months. [eClinicalMedicine].



What are the risks?

The biggest caveat, and something we need to talk about with all people in or nearing the stages of puberty (also menopause) is the possibility of irritation or stinging near your genital region. As far as this non-scientist author understands, the reason why lies in the complex story of hormones which makes it nearly impossible to predict. It could happen once, sometimes, or never, and it doesn’t matter what kind of genitals you have.

 

If this does happen, applying a layer of the provided petroleum jelly over the area can help prevent the salty solution from making contact and causing the burn. Most grown ups can push through the initial sting and reach the point where it subsides into a barely noticeable mild irritation, but for a kid, it’s scary and hurts in places that shouldn’t hurt. It’s super important for the parent to have this discussion before the float so that they don’t think there is anything wrong or broken if/when it ever happens.  

 

How young is too young?

Our youngest floater was only a month old, but that was an in-house, family driven experiment that I doubt will ever need to be replicated. I’m sure little Liam holds the world record for being the youngest floater ever!



We hosted a six-year-old once. That went ok, except we stressed ‘Don’t get salt in your eyes’ a little too hard and it became a point of anxiety that was too hard to overcome. #LessonsLearned.

 

Every single kid is their own unique human. There can be no hard and fast age limit for floating because everyone is just so different. Generally, six years old might be a little too young; ten seems to be a good introduction age, but as long as they’re old enough to not pee in the pool, they are welcome to come float here, with parental supervision.

 

I don’t know if my kid will sit still that long?

When oGoFloat first opened we had an off-menu option for kids with a shorter duration. Each time a kid came out, they would say ‘I could have stayed in longer’. Quickly that offering, along with our placating of children dissolved. Any floater, irrespective of their age is free to exit the tank at any time. Most people take the full 90 minutes, but every person, and every float is different. As always, you are in full control of your experience.

 

The parent’s role:

  • When you bring your child to float, you will complete the intake and waiver on their behalf.

  • You will discuss the potential for genital discomfort with your child in advance and assure them that they can ask any questions they want. This is a totally safe space.

  • Depending on the age of the child, sometimes it’s appropriate for you to stay in the room within physical reaching distance. Other times you can chill out in our epically relaxing Post Float Lounge with a book, that way you’re within ear shot while not disturbing the silence of their experience. Depending on the age, but once kids have floated a couple times and feel confident on their own, it’s common for the parent to reserve the neighboring tank and float themselves too. Older teenagers can be left without supervision.

 

Ultimately, each child is unique, and their comfort and well-being should guide the floating experience. Whether it's their first float or a regular practice, children are empowered to take control of their journey within the float tank. Float therapy is a timeless practice that welcomes seekers of all ages, offering a sanctuary where the mind can wander, the soul can rest, and imagination can soar.


 

 

SOURCES

“Screen media overuse is associated with poor sleep quality, shorter sleep duration, greater likelihood for overweight/obesity, lower executive functioning, poorer academic performance, and increased internalizing and externalizing problems”

 

It can impair emotional comprehension, promote aggressive behavior, and hinder social and emotional competence.

 

Anxiety is the most common mental health problem in young people. About 3% of Canadian children or youth experience an anxiety disorder.

 

The impact of floatation therapy on body image and anxiety in anorexia nervosa: a randomised clinical efficacy trial


 

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