father and son high five

118: Finding Balance Through Your Child’s Element

Understanding our kids and how they’re different from us (or the same in some ways!) can make a MASSIVE difference in the effectiveness of our parenting.

You’ve heard of personality tests, introverts/extroverts, and all sorts of labels for how our kids behave — how about understanding your child’s “element?”

I’m fascinated by this perspective brought through the centuries by Traditional Chinese Medicine and applied to kids of today brilliantly by my guest, Robin Green.

You’ll learn about:

  • The Unwellness Gap and why so so so many kids are stuck in it
  • How the body, mind, and spirit are all connected in health (and why this isn’t anti-faith or woo-woo)
  • How to determine which of the 5 “types” describes your kids the best
  • What foods are attractive to each type (and which can be stumbling blocks for particular reasons)
  • How to help kids eat better using their element to move them slowly from where they are to where we want them to be
  • One element type where screens are a good thing, and the pitfalls tech can cause in different ways for other types
  • A super simple 2-minute technique you can learn to help your kids be in balance

Be sure to take the 5-Element Questionnaire and get Robin’s free Elemental Parenting Guide here.

Can’t see the video? Find out how to discover your child’s element here on YouTube!

No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!

Finding Your Child’s Element Video Time Stamp

  • 0:22: Today on the Healthy Parenting Connector I’m talking to Robin Green about how knowing what makes each child different and how making some simple tweaks for each of them can make discipline so much easier.
  • 1:50: Robin is an acupuncturist, author, and speaker who helps parents apply Traditional Chinese Medicine principles at home for their kids.

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  • 3:05: Robin shares her background with us and how she came to focus on pediatrics.
  • 5:33: I know we have a lot of listeners who are Christians and when you hear “eastern medicine” or “Chinese Medicine” that can sound like it might be a spiritual thing. This is Chinese Medicine, a traditional form of healing and wellness, not a spiritual belief system.

The Unwellness Gap

  • 6:14: Many families in America struggle with what Robin calls the “unwellnes gap.” She defines this term for us. I bet many of you will relate.

It is figure-outable. Little, consistent changes can make a difference in your kids. -Robin Green

  • 9:53: Robin tells a story about an experience she had that underlined how much more prevalent food allergies are these days and how far we’ve come in terms of our kids’ health.
  • 10:33: Western medicine will give a cream, inhaler, or medication to cover up the symptoms of eczema, asthma, or ADHD, but that isn’t really addressing the root cause in the body. With Chinese Medicine, Robin helps kids thrive, not just cover symptoms. It’s really a shift in perspective.
  • 12:05: Where does this unwellness gap come from? Robin thinks that changes in our food quality, pesticides, convenience food, chemical exposure, and a build-up effect in genetics over generations all combine to increase the number and frequency of health problems our children are dealing with.
  • 15:19: We get a quick overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s based heavily on observation in nature and how you can apply that to the body. Just like blood, air, and lymph flow in our bodies, our Qi is an energetic flow. Qi flows along meridians and when there is a blockage, there’s a health problem. The goal is to find out where the blockage is and how to restore flow. When something is blocked in the body, our minds and spirits are often affected as well.
  • 18:18: Robin gives an example of how our body affects our mind and spirit. It can go the other way as well and a strong emotion like grief can lead to a physical ailment. There are certain organs that are linked specifically with different emotions.
  • 19:26: We talk about a few specific examples of this playing out in children.

5 elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water

5 Elements in Children

  • 20:15: Today we’re discussing the 5 elements. Each person tends to have one dominant element and then one or two secondary elements. Robin has an assessment tool to help you determine your child’s element.
  • 20:46: Knowing your child’s element can help you prevent potential health issues, treat current issues and understand your child’s temperament.
  • 21:12: The 5 elements are: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. They’re on a continuum. Wood and fire are high energy, demanding elements. Metal and water are easier going and relaxed. Earth tends to be a balance between the two and can be the most difficult to figure out.

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  • Kōkua Suncare with tons of antioxidants and my kids’ favorite scent and application (use the code KS for 15% off from Kōkua’s online store!)
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  • Raw Elements for so many reasons, including their tinted stick for adult faces (all styles, use KS10 for 10% off!)
  • Maelove, which I call the best “transition” sunscreen when moving away from chemical ‘screens
  • Others that make the top-recommended cut: Badger, ThinkBaby, Adorable Baby, Kabana

If you’re worried about the white cast on your skin from zinc oxide sunscreen, check out my video on how to apply mineral sunscreen correctly to minimize it.

  • 22:11: There are traits and characteristics of each type. Robin shares some examples for each type.
    • 22:17: Wood type characteristics: active, goal-oriented, always on the go
    • 22:43: Fire type characteristics: dramatic, sensitive to emotions, charismatic
    •  23:28: Earth type characteristics: helpful, chubby babies, lovable, not as dramatic as fire children, worries, very connected to family
    • 24:12: Metal type characteristics: well behaved, need routine, sensitive, quiet, can entertain selves
    • 24:40: Water type characteristics: innovators, imaginative, deep thinkers, may develop slower than peers as babies,
  • 26:15: You can hear some aspects of other personality typing systems like Myers-Briggs and eneagram coming through these descriptions.

Food and the 5 Elements

  • 27:52: We talk a lot about food here at Kids Cook Real Food. Robin shares some food cravings and food needs for each type. For example, wood kids need set meal times and metal kids tend to be sensitive to textures.

When you’re frustrated with your child, it can be hard to see that they aren’t being willful, it’s just part of who they are. -Robin Green

  • 31:25: We want to teach our kids to be adaptive, but sometimes we need to shift our approach so that they are better able to adapt within the parameters we set. Robin shares examples of how she helped her sensitive, picky eater.
  • 33:58: Robin continues with more food characteristics. Fire kids tend to like spicy food and have strong arbitrary preferences. Fire and earth kids tend to struggle the most with sugar and carb cravings. Water kids tend to like warming foods and salty foods.
  • 35:27: Sometimes we hear that kids’ bodies know what they need, but sometimes you do need to curb their tendencies and keep it healthy.

Basic Needs for Healthy Kids

  • 35:59: There are 4 basic needs of all kids: sleep, love, good food, and exercise. Sometimes it’s as simple as moving bedtime up an hour or helping your child fall asleep easier and an issue will resolve.

Focusing on sleep can be revolutionary for a child's health. -Robin Green

  • 36:46: We tend to focus on more concrete things we can see like nutrition or looking for a food intolerance, but sleep can fly under the radar. It’s so important to make sure our kids are getting enough sleep, falling asleep easily, and getting quality sleep.
  • 38:39: Different types of kids will struggle with screen time in different ways. Listen in here to see if you recognize your child’s tendencies. Read more about screen time boundaries here.

Training our kids to be successful independent adults includes tech literacy.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like parenting in today’s technology driven world is like trying to learn a new game without the rule book.

In fact, technology has changed everything about parenting (almost), so we have to rewrite the rules.

It’s time to say goodbye to power struggles over screen time. I’d love to share what really works for my family as we attempt to balance screen time with real life!


  • 41:59: Water and wood types are the most at risk of video game addiction. They more than any other type need clear limits and boundaries around screen time.
  • 42:51: All areas of parenting have differences from child to child, which is both a gift and a challenge.
  • 44:13: Robin shares about two sisters she worked with and how important self-understanding is.
  • 45:48: Of course, we talk about getting kids involved with food and cooking. Robin started involving her son in the kitchen to help him explore new foods away from the dinner table.

Sitting down to eat dinner together as a family creates such a wonderful connection. -Robin Green

  • 48:28: Robin has some free videos showing you how to do Tuina massage on her website. She gives us a quick explanation of what that is and how it’s helpful. This is a user easy, simple thing you can do to improve your child’s health at home in 2 minutes a day.

Resources We Mention for Healthy, Balanced Kids

As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Robin Ray GreenRobin Ray Green, L.Ac, MTCM, acupuncturist, author, speaker, and wellness coach.

She helps parents learn to use Chinese Medicine at home so they can find lasting solutions to their child’s health issue… especially when Western medicine isn’t enough. She is the founder of AcuPatching365.com – an innovative technique that helps relieve symptoms for a wide variety of ailments without pills or prescriptions. She is a published HayHouse author and her book Heal Your Child from the Inside Out: The 5-Element Way to Nurturing Healthy, Happy Kids is available at all major bookstores and online at robinraygreen.com.

Knowing your child's element can make parenting easier

What You Should Do Next:

1. Subscribe to The Healthy Parenting Connector

Katie Kimball

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3. Enroll in the Online Cooking Course for Kids:

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About Katie Kimball

Katie Kimball, CSME, creator of Kids Cook Real Food and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship, LLC, is passionate about connecting families around healthy food. As a trusted educator and author of 8 real food cookbooks, she’s been featured on media outlets like ABC, NBC and First for Women magazine and contributes periodically on the FOX Network.

Since 2009, busy moms have looked to Katie as a trusted authority and advocate for children’s health, and she often partners with health experts and medical practitioners to stay on the cutting edge. In 2016 she created the Wall Street Journal recommended best online kids cooking course, Kids Cook Real Food, helping thousands of families around the world learn to cook. She is actively masterminding the Kids’ Meal Revolution, with a goal of every child learning to cook.

A mom of 4 kids from Michigan, she is also a Certified Stress Mastery Educator, member of the American Institute of Stress and trained speaker through Bo Eason’s Personal Story Power.

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