Summary of topics addressed in the interview:
- Why Lia sees more children with motor problems
- How children neurologically develop everything for balance and movement in the first 1,5 years of their lives
- The importance for children to lie down flat on their back or belly, playing on the floor and crawling
- The importance of the left and right brain working together
- How Aura-Soma colour therapy can help children to be more in their body and feel safe in the world
- The impact of the functioning of the body and brain on emotional well-being, digestion, self-confidence, calmness, sleep
- The importance of moving for social, emotional and cognitive learning and memory
- The impact of food on behaviour
- How Lia looks at children holistically and addresses well-being in all areas: spiritual, physical, aura, emotional
- How she coaches and works with the whole family to help a child with overweight or obesity
The holistic model used by Lia for optimal development of children:
Hello, welcome. Today I have a very, very special guest. Our first actual guest that works with children for many years, 25.
Lia Weijts (00:28):
Lia Weijts. She is a motoric children’s therapist. In Dutch it’s a little different how you would say it. How do you say it in Dutch?
Lia Weijts (00:36):
In Dutch, you say Kinderoefentherapeut Cesar.
Welcome Lia. We’re really excited to hear about your work. You’ve been working with children for these 25 years, helping them really become who they’re meant to be, both physically, emotionally and spiritually, right?
Lia Weijts (00:53):
Yes, that’s true.
I’m excited about hearing more about your work and how you’ve gotten where you are today.
Lia Weijts (00:59):
Welcome Cathleen, it’s nice to have you here in the practice-
Yes, it’s really nice.
Lia Weijts (01:06):
It’s great to talk about this topic because I think it’s a very important part of well being in the community. I am married for 25 years and I have two grown-up children. I have children myself and I know that it can be sometimes a little bit hard. But when I started working, I studied social work and I started to work with children that are abused and very neglected. Very young children, from two and a half to six years old and it was really intense.
We worked with three leaders on a group and it was all group work. It was very intense because of the problems that these children have, but I loved it but I burned out. That was also because you don’t have any time for the children themselves, it’s all group work. Sometimes you want to address something that children need individually but there was no time for that. So I was burned out and I decided to go away for a year, so I was an au pair in this part of the Netherlands and I ride horses and I played with children and it was a very good decision to go away for a year and then I decided to study “Oefentherapie Cesar”, what I became and it’s a holistic physical form of therapy but I specialised right away in children.
That’s why I’m specialised in motoric skills, posture and movement of children. It is really important because all the learning in life, cognitive, social/emotional, and motoric are whole.
Yeah, they’re interrelated.
Lia Weijts (03:15):
Yes, they’re interrelated and that’s how I became that and I did this work for 25 years.
Wow, I’m curious about something, there are a lot more cases of autism as we know, there are a lot more issues with children. Do you think there are more issues just because or do you think we’re having more issues? Some people say, we’ve always had the issues but we never diagnosed them. You’ve been around 25 years, tell us…
Lia Weijts (03:42):
I don’t agree because when I started this work 25 years ago, the motoric problems of children were not so difficult. You see more and more that the problems are getting way more complicated. When children are born and the first one and a half years, they develop everything in the neurological way for movement. So, it’s about balance. About getting up, standing up, to be able to move and to touch and to do all those things. I see a lot of problems there because when I grew up, children were laying down on their back but also on the belly. They played on the ground and now, everything has a square.
Children don’t lie flat anymore, there’s a curve in bouncers, in Maxi-Cosies –
Lia Weijts (04:54):
They’re being used everywhere. It’s a car chair but they’re being used for everything. Because of that, children don’t develop everything they need because you need tension in bending yourself but you also need tension in extending yourself. That’s missing. Because of that, sensorily, so in touch and in sound and in balance, you develop all the sensory parts of movement but that’s really important also for the brain to work together.
Yeah, I was going to say about ADHD too. We didn’t mention that but many more kids have ADHD, so that’s also part of the story.
Lia Weijts (05:44):
Autism and ADHD and a lot of times you see that the brain doesn’t work very well in all the facets, it’s very important that it works together. Left-Right, it has to work together. Also to filter all these impulses that you get everyday. They don’t do that very well anymore.
So as a motoric therapist, what do you do with the children? If you get a child with ADHD or something and you know that there’s an issue with their brain not working together and obviously more and more toxins on the planet. More and more… not only the Maxi-Cosies, there’s other reasons for this, the diet perhaps. Can you address that?
Lia Weijts (06:29):
Also there’s a lot of tablets-
Oh yeah phones.
Lia Weijts (06:32):
Phones. There are really small children sometimes from two and a half years old that already are using a tablet or something. So that has influence, that has impact. But when they come here, what I do, I look at what is the problem. They come, for example, they have problems in learning how to write. When they have ADHD, often they have problems in writing-
And readying maybe.
Lia Weijts (07:03):
And reading. Yeah, of course. Then, I look at their motoric skills until the age that they are. Is everything in place? So I look back from baby time until maybe they are five or six. I look back and look, is everything there. What is missing, I will bring in. For example, when you say a child doesn’t have this connection very well in right and left brain, then we do… we have a lot of material, as you can see, we play but we play with a goal. For example, we do some games that make it so the right and left brain can work together.
So it’s really physical. But I know you’re a health and wellness coach also. Then that would address more maybe the food, which we’ll get into later, but do you want to just mention that with ADHD and autism, the food problem that you’re seeing?
Lia Weijts (08:09):
Yeah, I want to address it but I think it’s not in the therapy, it’s not only physical that I address. Because when your body is working more together, your brain is working more together, it also has an effect on your emotional being. About calmness, about feeling well, about digestion, it has an influence on that. If you feel better and you see that you can do things better, then you give also a little bit of confidence and that will help to develop new things.
So spiritually, that’s important.
Lia Weijts (08:43):
Yeah, yeah. But as a health and wellness coach, I became that because I saw a lot of problems, that’s what I said, I see more and more problems in children. I couldn’t address it with my motoric therapy and I thought I need something more to be able to address it. So I studied Aura-Soma colour therapy, I also work with that very much on the energetic level, on the spiritual level of children and I became a health and wellness coach. So food is important but it’s not only food, it’s also sleep and movement and-
But for those parents, that perhaps are listening today, who might have a child with ADHD and a behavioural problem, have you seen a connection with certain food?
Lia Weijts (09:35):
Yeah. A lot of times they don’t do well on sugar.
Oh, yeah, I can imagine.
Lia Weijts (09:40):
Because when you think you’re going on holiday and you have two children in the back of your car and you think, “Aw, just give them a candy.” And then they will go along… and you have two bouncing, jumping children that can’t go along because of all the sugar. They need to move. When they move, that will help them to balance the energy.
So if they did give the sugar they have to take a break and have them run in the field.
Lia Weijts (10:09):
Lia Weijts (10:10):
So a lot of times sugar but also wheat, altered wheat, a lot of bread and stuff-
So modern grain.
Lia Weijts (10:17):
Yeah, the modern grain. Most of them not doing well on-
It has an effect on the brain. We know that. So when they eat that modern grain everyday, three times a day-
Lia Weijts (10:26):
A lot of times, parents tell me, “Yeah, they have so much stomach aches and yeah when he ate this or that, then he didn’t feel well or he couldn’t sleep.”
Or he didn’t behave well.
Lia Weijts (10:41):
Or he didn’t… “Oh my God, he was so bad in behaviour.” Like that.
So taking out this modern grain, the bad sugars, is a first step for parents who are listening online.
Lia Weijts (10:55):
Yeah. When I start coaching families with children that has a problem. I always start with food.
What about milk?
Lia Weijts (11:06):
Yeah, that’s also not good. But some-
Maybe another kind of milk.
Lia Weijts (11:11):
But some people are doing very well on milk and others don’t.
So that can be tested?
Lia Weijts (11:16):
Yeah. So yeah, for me, for example, I can’t handle milk, there are children that can. And others can’t.
And then they try maybe almond or some other kind of milk that’s out there.
Lia Weijts (11:32):
Yeah. There’s lots these days, so it’s not so difficult.
Yeah, and coconuts, right? Coconut.
Lia Weijts (11:37):
Lots of wonderful-
Lia Weijts (11:38):
Most of the time that’s not a problem but people don’t know, that’s the problem.
Can you give me some examples of your work helping the children physically, spiritually, where you realise that they weren’t just physically having an experience, we are actually spiritual beings.
Lia Weijts (11:58):
Having a physical-
Lia Weijts (12:00):
I see a lot of time, for example, I get children from a holistic doctor here in the area and they come here because he wants them to be more in the body. That’s how I get them then. There’s no motoric problem or whatever but they’re not in the body.
So, could they have… like I know in the case of my daughter, she was having constant accidents because she wasn’t in the body.
Lia Weijts (12:25):
That can be. Yeah, so they stumble or they are totally not here so if you ask them a question-
They don’t listen in school or they have a lot of problems with the environment. Allergies or also impulses, they don’t do impulses very well. Then, we work on… I have this balance board and I have also a big bowl of rice and they have to stand in that and we do jumping and that kind of stuff. We do a lot of jumping here. Trampoline, also like half a ball and you stand on it and it’s… what it does is it brings attention to the lower parts of the body and those children most of the time are sitting in this [upper part of body] area and they don’t digest well, most of the time, but they don’t feel their feet.
So if you ask them to walk over a line, they can’t because they don’t have any coordination in the legs because they’re not steering it. When you practice that, it’s getting better. They go down and down and down and also Aura-Soma really helps in that.
Tell me a little more about what it is, because for the audience they might not know what Aura-Soma is.
Lia Weijts (13:57):
Aura-Soma is a colour therapy.
So you give therapy with colours?
Lia Weijts (14:02):
Yes. All the bottles have different colours and it’s all natural, it’s all from plants and minerals and flowers and that makes the colour. For example, give me one of those bottles, I will show you. Give me like this.
So, this for example, is a bottle that’s really for the physical. For example I massage their feet with it. For children that have problems coming down but also have problems in being here on earth and can have sometimes trouble sleeping.
That’s beautiful. It’s like a pink gold. It’s beautiful.
Lia Weijts (14:47):
It’s red and yellow and it’s getting orange when you-
Lia Weijts (14:52):
So it’s like an oil almost?
Lia Weijts (14:54):
Yeah, it’s a water part-
Can I feel it?
Lia Weijts (14:57):
Yes you can.
Lia Weijts (14:58):
And it smells really nice. It’s an oil part and a water part and that’s why there are two colours.
I can just take it-
Lia Weijts (14:58):
Wow. It smells beautiful.
Lia Weijts (14:58):
That’s what I mean.
It smells very nice.
Lia Weijts (14:59):
But this one, I use a lot with children on their feet. You see already working because there’s a lot of bubbles coming in.
Wow, it feels very nice.
Lia Weijts (15:21):
Yeah, it is because it’s totally natural. All these colours, I have 125 bottles but I don’t have them all here today.
How do you determine what they need?
Lia Weijts (15:34):
They can choose. They choose-
So it’s through the Law of Attraction.
Lia Weijts (15:38):
The child knows what he needs.
Lia Weijts (15:41):
I always am surprised, not always surprised but it’s lovely to see what they choose. It’s always so fitting. Now, for this, for example, helps them when you massage their feet with it and their calves, then they’re really coming down. If you do that at night, then children can fall easily to sleep.
And they probably can handle the daily activities better.
Lia Weijts (16:08):
Well that’s what I have this little bottles for. Give me one. They are available in all colours but I have brought a few. What you do is you do three drops on your hand and you rub your hands a little bit.
It gets warm.
Lia Weijts (16:34):
There’s just a little bit of oil also in it, smell. Not too close because it can be really heavy and then you bring this around the body.
Like around the aura?
Lia Weijts (16:45):
Yeah, in the energetic field and you can… children I often let them do it intuitively. If you’ve done this and then you smell a little bit.
It smells very nice.
Lia Weijts (17:00):
But this will give a child, also we adults but I work with this most time with children, you can feel that you have your own space.
Like a boundary.
Lia Weijts (17:12):
Yes. There’s a boundary and everything that’s happening in the world around them, in school, at home, it’s not coming so close. So they can have their peace-
They can handle it.
Lia Weijts (17:26):
They have their own space, be themselves in all this hectic-
Life. Wow. Of course with ADHD children and autism, they have sometimes… it’s too much. All the stimulation.
Lia Weijts (17:40):
But also I see a lot of high sensitive children. They are the ones that often are not so in the body because they don’t like it here. They think, go a little bit up. But if I bring them down with this, this really helps to bring them down.
So beautiful. So you’re really addressing the spiritual, the physical, and the aura together, and the emotional. Because when they feel safe, then they can have courage to go forward.
Lia Weijts (18:15):
Also if you’re not able to play football with your friends because you can’t. You miss the ball, you fall over it, you never make a goal like that.
Lia Weijts (18:28):
So people, all the children don’t ask you anymore at one point so you feel left out. It brings you down, your self-esteem is going down and if you learn those motoric skills and you can handle that, then it’s going up.
Lia as I’m hearing you speak about these colours, which is so fascinating to me, we know that the basis of healing and the future will be frequencies, it’s not so clear now how that will manifest in all areas of medicine but we do know that with children they are really tuning in to everyone’s frequency. Can you share a little bit about children, frequency and how this all kind of comes together?
Lia Weijts (19:14):
I can give some examples because I see a lot of children that are really, what I said high sensitive, you see a lot of children that are high sensitive these days. There are also children that find it very difficult in school systems because the school system is just for everyone. They feel they don’t fit in. Sometimes they come because they have a motoric problem, the teacher says yeah I have trouble writing, trouble, often also, in the playground. So that, for example he doesn’t play or that he is a little too wild so that other children are not safe.
Then they come to us and we also work on the motoric part but this part is very important that this child can be himself. These colours really help with that. So I have a cupboard full of them. For example, when a child chooses this bottle, this is the most beautiful bottle in the cupboard that he or she can find. Then this tells me something about this child. I let this child talk about it, what do these colours mean to you? “It’s my favourite colour. I love this, I love dolphins.” So it’s getting more and more, he or she gets in touch with this frequency. This frequency is then helping the child to become who he really is.
But that does, a little bit require believe in themselves or not. That’s another whole thing.
Lia Weijts (21:00):
That comes later.
Lia Weijts (21:02):
No, because what you see, the child that is so insecure, he chooses right away.
And then feels more secure already.
Lia Weijts (21:11):
When we use this bottle on the body, because this is what you do. You’re going to stir it up, you use it, you give a little massage or puts it here or whatever he wants, or she wants. Then this bottle’s going to work. This part of this child that’s not so developed is then more and more developed and then the self-esteem comes.
You don’t really then have to deal with the trauma or something, it just heals.
Lia Weijts (21:39):
You don’t have to deal the trauma with words.
Lia Weijts (21:43):
We do it with colour-
Lia Weijts (21:46):
And movement. And sometimes talking to the parents, how to handle.
The parents are part of it, right?
Lia Weijts (21:52):
The parents are also part of it.
Tell me about that more, because that’s so huge.
Lia Weijts (21:57):
Yeah, because I work with families. When I’m coaching, I’m working with families. Most of the time with children that are overweight or obese but sometimes other problems also. I also family that has two very high sensitive children and the mother is also a little bit high sensitive and she has a lot of trouble getting the children in a good rhythm in the day. If it was too much yesterday, they don’t want to do everything today and they get really upset. How do you handle that?
That’s my social works coming in. Then I can give them also-
Some practical it sounds like.
Lia Weijts (22:40):
Very practical but also I work a lot of times with the colours because that helps also, it helps in a different way. So I help the parent. I help the children in a frequency way to become more themselves and to come down to earth because that’s what then happens. And we move. And we talk about food and we talk about sleep but then it’s coming all together and you see this child, all these parts of the child, physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, spiritually, you see everything coming together. That’s so beautiful. If I see that, that’s so beautiful. That’s really why I do it.
Oh Lia, that’s so nice. I really admire you. When I was young I used to teach children in this Sunday school, what I loved is how intelligent they are because I could ask them anything and they kind of know things but you have to ask them like they would know. Not tell them, you know.
Lia Weijts (23:43):
That’s what a lot of times parents don’t do because of the daily routine but most of the time, that’s why these insecure children also totally know which colour they want. They feel the frequency and they feel where they resonate with and what they need.
Lia Weijts (24:03):
That’s so nice.
Lia Weijts (24:04):
I think it’s good if we have more space for that in the society. That children can say what they need.
This whole idea of bio-individuality, in America they’ve been homeschooling for a number of years because the children did not fit into the system and now the parent says I would rather teach them myself, that I know my child, what they need, how they learn. I think more and more we’re going to go to systems that are more bio-individual,
Lia Weijts (24:35):
I think so.
not just treat everyone the same.
Lia Weijts (24:37):
A friend of mine has a school and she has a class, it’s for special need children but she has a class, they are normal intelligent children, don’t have problems there but they don’t fit into the school system. They are totally freaked out often and then when they come there for two months, they just sit and be. And enjoy the day and there’s nothing asked of them and then at one point they say, “I want to do this.” Or “I want to do that.” Then they get in a rhythm again and I think it’s good to do that. Because we are… especially a lot of children that I see, they come here and practice with motoric problems, often have problems with school.
Yeah. It kind of goes together.
Lia Weijts (25:28):
Yeah. They don’t feel well and they don’t feel seen and they are a little bit different. That is what then sometimes is difficult for them. Here, they always say, here I can be myself. But I always tell them, when I do… when I look what is going wrong, I do some tests, I always say, “You can do everything wrong here, that’s no problem.” And you see them looking. I say-
They can’t believe it.
Lia Weijts (26:08):
The only thing that counts is that you do your best.
Oh nice, Lia.
Lia Weijts (26:12):
Then, you see-
They’re relieved, yeah.
Lia Weijts (26:16):
Because that’s not so common these days.
Our system, the right and the wrong, the duality of our educational system must change.
Lia Weijts (26:25):
Yeah I think so.
It really has to be the future. If you were to give the parents… you can look there. If you were to give parents one piece of advice, if they’re having a child that’s not fitting in the system, what would you like to tell them?
Lia Weijts (26:40):
I would like to tell them, come here and let me help you because it’s not always so easy to have a child that is not fitting the system and as a parent, you are so close to them. You often… maybe you’re not equipped to do this but what I find really important for parents to do, is that they go outside and move with the children.
Lia Weijts (27:09):
In nature. Go to the woods. We have so many woods here. Or to the river or to the sea or wherever you live, or a park, but go outside or playground and move with your children.
Get out of the electronic.
Lia Weijts (27:23):
Yeah but that’s not the only thing. That’s totally important of course, but it’s also so important when you move as a child, the brain is developing. When the brain is developing, you have a better basis for social and emotional learning but also for cognitive. I have made a triangle here that’s where you can see that it’s all influences on each other. If you have good motoric skills, then someone ask you to play with you and you practice yourself and you’re being social and you feel good about it. And you feel belonging and it’s also on the social and emotional part, also when you move a lot the brain is developing and making all the basis that you need for reading, writing, and learning mathematics.
And remembering, right?
Lia Weijts (28:21):
And remembering. All those systems. Yeah, it’s so important and I see a lot of children that don’t move enough. They come out of school and then they go on the tablets or on the computer or on the TV and sit on the couch and they don’t do anything. That’s really not a good idea.
No. I know when we were young, we had to walk to school and all that. Then we had-
Lia Weijts (28:50):
We don’t have social media.
Yeah, we didn’t have social media and we had to play in the backyard when we came home.
Lia Weijts (28:57):
Yeah. We were playing in the streets-
That’s kind of interesting.
Lia Weijts (28:59):
Because there were three cars in our street, no more. We were always outside, always playing. It was bad weather we played inside but we still played and we did it a lot.
I’m kind of taken with this story because I had dyslexia and a lot of people-
Lia Weijts (29:18):
Have that and then you know I was terribly uncoordinated. I could have used you. It’s really true because they did make fun of me.
Lia Weijts (29:27):
The left and the right brain is not working together.
I think it’s really interesting. Wow.
Lia Weijts (29:31):
I can give you an example of myself. I was eight months old and I could walk already. Normally it’s-
Wow. Fast learner.
Lia Weijts (29:41):
Yeah. Normally it’s about 18 months, that’s normal. But I was eight months. I walked and I walked. But I didn’t crawl. That’s really important because that’s the first time that hands and feet, right and left brain, are working together.
Lia Weijts (30:02):
I didn’t do that. So I could walk.
You skipped it.
Lia Weijts (30:06):
I skipped it. But that was, at one point, it was found, I was already in high school that I was dyslexic. Because I’m… stupid to say of yourself, but I’m more intelligent than most people so I compensated with that.
You got through it.
Lia Weijts (30:29):
But when I had English and German and Dutch and all these languages and all these… it was too much. Then I was tested and then it was found out. But since I am a motoric specialist, I’ve trained myself. So now only when I’m really tired or really emotional then it’s a problem but for the rest it isn’t anymore.
I think for many parents listening that is a huge issue, dyslexia.
Lia Weijts (30:55):
Then my daughter, my oldest daughter, she went her same way. She was eight, nine months and she tried to walk and I thought you’re going to crawl, if I’ve got to make you. So I have here, I have a tunnel so I bought this tunnel for the practice and I brought it home and I said, you can walk but you also have to crawl. So I go on the other way and I made sure she also did that. She did. She’s not dyslexic.
Oh wow. Very interesting.
Lia Weijts (31:32):
But you have to know and I knew how important it was but my mother didn’t know.
Yeah. Do you want to address the drug Ritalin? We sometimes you need Ritalin but can you tell us about your experience with that?
Lia Weijts (31:46):
I see a lot of people that are having ADHD, some of them have Ritalin or Concerta, a lot of them are on Concerta also that’s working all day. You take one pill it works all day. Some children really need it because otherwise they can’t function at all, that’s what I see sometimes. But I also see children that have got this Ritalin and they are totally not themselves anymore.
Wow. What happens?
Lia Weijts (32:22):
To get the right dosage, to get the right medicine, to get the right balance, that will take time. They don’t eat very well anymore because they don’t feel hungry anymore. They are sometimes a little numb. Then, yeah, you can do your schoolwork but you’re not who you are.
You’re not authentically you.
Lia Weijts (32:46):
No. It’s very important when you decide to go on this medication to have it in the right balance, to take the time to balance it out and that it’s not too much.
Because maybe we’re giving too much.
Lia Weijts (33:03):
Lia Weijts (33:04):
Sometimes it is. I had a boy that… I have more examples of it but a boy that really had too much and he couldn’t eat anymore. So he was skinny already so he lost a lot of weight and then he gets physical issues because of that. So, they really have to stop the Ritalin to make him eat again and to make him alive and vivid again.
Lia Weijts (33:31):
So, yeah. I see some children that really need it because otherwise they can’t function but I always think first look at what you can do before.
Okay, so you’ve mentioned nature, movement, diet-
Lia Weijts (33:49):
Lia Weijts (33:50):
Structure is so important.
Lia Weijts (33:53):
For most children, but especially for these kind of children. When they come in here they want to know what are we going to do? What are we going to do next and what are we going to do next? Can I do this? Can I do that? No. Okay today we do four plays.
Lia Weijts (34:13):
It’s a little bit more playing.
Four playing exercises.
Lia Weijts (34:18):
Yes. So, we start with this. When we finish we do that. And we do that and if you did very well, you can choose the last one from this or that.
Lia Weijts (34:27):
So it has to be really structured. That was also in my work when I worked with those children that were abused and neglected, there was also… it has to be tough love, I always say. I use it all the time in the practice also. I’m very strict. Because if I say it has to be like this, it has to be like this. Because they are masters in doing something different and that’s how they cope. But no, we want you to evolve, so it has to be like this. I’m never mad, I’m always… this is what I want and this is what you do.
So the structure gives them almost safety in a way.
Lia Weijts (35:11):
Yes. It’s very safe.
Lia Weijts (35:13):
Also it gives them some guidance in life because they’re all over the place-
And maybe they miss that with their parents. Maybe their parents are busy.
Lia Weijts (35:22):
When the parents are giving them more structure, it always works better. So first of all, we do this in the morning. First breakfast then we do clothing and then we go to school. When you’re coming back, always we drink something, we eat something, then you play. When you come in, then we do this. We eat at this time, you go to bed at this time. It has to be that strict for them.
Now, I know some people use herbs and plants to help the brain work better. I would love you to comment on the science of Glycoscience and glycans. And the importance of the brain.
Lia Weijts (36:03):
What we see with Glyconutrition is that it’s really helping the brain to develop well. When in the first year, year and a half when all this is coming into place, what I said earlier, it’s also then the brain is making a lot of connections. But often at one and a half year, those connections have to be trimmed because otherwise you have way too much. In the food, there is not enough glyconutrition anymore. Unfortunately it is. So what we see with children that are taking a glyconutrient supplement, that they develop their brain in a more balanced way. Because if you have too much of connections, you can imagine that there are so much input in your brain-
Yeah, it’s not modulated.
Lia Weijts (37:01):
No. It’s not modulated at all. So, yeah, that really helps.
Lia, your work as a health and wellness coach is really focused on childhood obesity, which is getting worse and worse. There’s no question. The processed food, the altered food. The toxicity on the planet and the way that people are not moving, the children are not moving as much, especially this year but it’s definitely not a good thing. Can you share a little bit about that? Like that obese-ogenic society, food quality, food amounts, how you help children, how you have helped children?
Lia Weijts (37:39):
I’m working as a health and wellness coach. I work with families with children that are overweight or obese. The youngest, at the moment, is four years old and the oldest is like 16, 17. But what my work involves is that I coach the whole family because it’s a family as a system. If a child is really obese then there has to be also something changed in the family. Because when a child is four or five, or six years old, the mother or the father is the one doing the groceries, is making the dinner, is giving all the candy and all that stuff. It’s not the child that chooses that themselves.
So, most of the time, I start with food first because what you said, there’s a lot of processed food, there’s a lot of altered food. People don’t know how bad it is and I see a lot of children that are eating that most of the time. And bread, cookies, french fries, pizza-
All day long?
Lia Weijts (38:49):
All day long. That’s also a problem. Children are eating all day long. They want this and they get it. They want that and they get it. There is no rhythm and there are no boundary often. So what I teach these families is to have three meals, with two healthy snacks. There’s also room for some nice things, 80-20 rule. 80 percent of the time eat healthy, 20 percent is fun. Of course you can have a pizza. Of course you have some french fries, of course. But not all the time.
Not every day.
Lia Weijts (39:25):
Not every day and what I see a lot of times is that they don’t eat vegetables at all or they just eat out of a can. There’s a lot of sugar in canned vegetables. Children don’t like vegetables or the mother doesn’t know how to make it or in the family it was already like they didn’t eat vegetables themselves. So they didn’t learn how to do that, so they don’t know how to do that with the children. But what I said, boundaries is also very important. How do you comfort? Do you do that with food? Or do you do that with a cuddle?
How do you praise? Do you do that with food or well done, you did your swimming… you have your swimming diplomas, you have a bag of candy or you do it another way.
This is true.
Lia Weijts (40:27):
Just go to the movies or something. It’s being aware of behaviour around food and around movement. Sometimes those children are moving a lot. I now have a child of nine years old, she’s swimming four times a week, so that’s not the case but she eats 60 sugar lumps a day in what she eats.
So yeah, this boy… I have some examples here that parents sent. It’s good to show. This boy, when I started he looked like this. I think he was 15 years old and he had to cycle to school 18 kilometers to school and back. So you think, with that kind of movement you can eat whatever you want. But that wasn’t the case because he was getting overweight, really overweight. I made him aware of the sugar lumps and I said, okay what do you eat for breakfast? “Chocolate, Nutella” like that. Lumps, put the lumps there. Okay, what do you use to snack? “Oh, I have three cookies. With cola.” All this sugar lumps, I put in a row and he was also a child that ate 60 sugar lumps a day. But that gave him such an insight by doing that, that he said, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
He lost 10 kilos in two to three months, just by eating well and moving. He also was sporting. He still likes the sport, he just gave me an update because he is not in my practice anymore because he is doing so well. So he’s now… I think he’s now 16, he’s looking great and he feels very well and yeah, like that.
This is a child was four and now she’s five. That is a child that is already very big for her age. I see them also, children that are really big, growing really fast. So they look like six or seven when they’re four. But they also gain very quickly weight. Good balance in food is important and I sometimes go shopping with parents. “What do you buy for breakfast?” Okay, this is a good alternative. “What do you buy as a treat?” Okay, this is a better alternative. Her parents are divorced and the father said, “I can’t cook.” So, I went with him to the grocery story and I said, “okay, if you do this, and this, very easy. Just grab here spaghetti, and here you have vegetables and stuff, then you make nice spaghetti with a lot of vegetables.” Okay he said. I gave him four things-
Lia Weijts (43:33):
Yeah some sort of… you grab this you put it together and you have a nice meal. He did that. This child’s also… sometimes her mother has to work and they go to the grandparents. I also talked to the grandparents. So don’t give her all this candy. Don’t give her this, don’t give her that. Then it’s all about communication. That the father says, okay, we went to McDonald’s today. So the mother doesn’t do that tomorrow.
Okay. That’s good.
Lia Weijts (44:01):
Also a very important part of that.
Tell me a little bit about emotions and weight with children.
Lia Weijts (44:07):
Yeah. Emotions are always very important, what I often see when children are overweight is that they are having trouble expressing themselves emotionally. So, they do that with food. Sometimes one of the parents is also doing that with food. So, when they are stressed, or if you’re happy they eat. They do everything with eating. So what I learn and what I teach them, is to express your feelings in different ways. So if you’re angry, you’re angry. That’s fine. But how do you express that? Sometimes, some children are really into music. Others are in drawing or in going on the trampoline and other children need some music for example. By developing skills to process your emotions, some children need to talk about it.
I have one, my oldest, she needs to cycle really hard. Then she has something at school and then she’s not happy, I said, talking is not your thing because a lot of times they are very closed. So they are not used to expressing their feelings. Teaching them how to express it more and find a way that works for you. For some it’s sports. Or running. For others it’s drawing and for others it’s music.
So you work with them to find it. Obviously behavioural issues and then overeating is compensation a lot of times.
Lia Weijts (45:51):
Also a lot of times, self-esteem, because when they are… sometimes I have a child that’s 13 years old is already 130 kilos and she was almost a hundred kilos and she was in sports. Teacher said that she couldn’t come anymore because she was overweight and that pushed her so badly backwards, she felt so badly, that she… in a very short time was 130 kilos.
Lia Weijts (46:31):
Because doesn’t matter anymore. People don’t like me. I’m not good enough. That’s a lot of the things that I see. It’s very important for me not to talk about that they are overweight or that they are obese-
So watch your words.
Lia Weijts (46:48):
I have to be very careful in what I say but I’m always talking about it’s so important that they are becoming themselves, they love themselves. What are your qualities, what are you good at? So love yourself and accept yourself how you are today, we working on this, and when they get under hundred, those pubers, that are in puberty, they are so overjoyed. So by doing sport and more movement and eating better, there is always a change.
Great. You work with children also to get their swimming diploma. Obviously this is also about courage and self-esteem.
Lia Weijts (47:41):
Yeah but this is also… it comes from out of my practice with motoric skills. Because the children are moving less and less, we see that the basis of swimming is based on a few things motorically. If you don’t have that, then swimming is very difficult. So, then it takes a lot of time and parents are pushing because it costs so much-
And they can’t get the A-diploma-
Lia Weijts (48:13):
They can’t get the A-diploma and they feel I’m not worth it and then the self-esteem and all this other stuff is coming. So I’m specialised in bringing those skills, motoric skills in the body and even have a special group. I work with some swimming pools here in the area, give them tips and tricks but also we have a little group for children that find it really difficult.
Ah that’s nice.
Lia Weijts (48:45):
I must think of a boy with big, big autism. He was five years old, he could count in English to 100 and back, but swimming was very difficult for him. It took a long time but with us it’s fun and they grow and they get their diploma in the end and that’s really important, also for self-esteem.
You have a company with all these services, can you explain a little bit about it? And where you see yourself going in the future.
Lia Weijts (49:22):
I have this big practice, it’s located in Zutphen in the Netherlands, in the East part of the Netherlands. But doesn’t mean that you have to live here because I also work online. Last year with COVID, I also gave therapy online. We moved children and parents behind a computer and I do it here and I say what they need to do and they get some material from us, really helped. I have three employees that work with me on this. We have all these disciplines here: the coaching and the motoric skills, the Aura-Soma and I’m also a specialist in sleep. So that we can work with these children in-house so they really can become themselves and grow out in who they are supposed to be. I find that so important because this world needs healthy happy children that grow into adults that can change this world. It’s so important. So, yeah. I find that my passion and it’s my task and my role to help in that.
How I see the future, yeah. I think I spoke a few weeks ago, I spoke with a specialist in children’s health and he said the obesity in children is really rising. Especially after this COVID year, even children that weren’t overweight are now overweight because they were all at home. So I think it’s very important, the work that I do and there are also others that do the same, can help the children grow out, really as healthy and happy persons.
Lia Weijts (51:22):
I hope the healthcare insurance will take over a little bit.
It seems to be moving in that direction.
Lia Weijts (51:28):
Yeah but now this coaching part is paid by child care in the Netherlands.
Lia Weijts (51:35):
So that’s very important but I’m not sure if that’s going to stay because it’s always under pressure. It’s government money and they’re always short of. So I hope there will also be something in healthcare insurance but the motoric therapy is also covered by insurance.
I can mention, I know in the United States they’re about to break through with health and wellness coaching everywhere. So that will also be children.
Lia Weijts (52:03):
No it’s also here and adults are also already in health insurance with this and children are motoric therapy, they are in health insurance. So, it’s just a matter of time, I think.
Yeah. Well thanks Lia, this was so wonderful.
Lia Weijts (52:19):
So appreciate it.
Lia Weijts (52:22):
I hope that this will give a lot of people some insight.
Lia Weijts (52:27):
Lia Weijts (52:29):
Thank you for joining, thank you for subscribing, see you next time.