Toddler yoga

by Christina on August 24, 2016

I’ve been doing a lot of toddler yoga lately. And I don’t mean doing yoga with my toddler — I mean that my toddler is teaching me yoga. Teaching me to breathe. Teaching me to be present. Reminding me that all moments are temporary.

We’ve had some challenging moments lately — he wants something he can’t have, he cries and screams, and I get quickly frustrated losing my calm and not being my best self.

As I practice the 7th series, I’ve been wondering how to handle his toddler self more yogic-ally.

I recently read No-Drama Discipline and really resonated with this overall theme of the book: “It’s when our kids are most upset that they need us the most.” 

Some of my immediate take-aways from the book:

  • Disciplining our children should be a way to show them how much we love and respect them.  It is a chance to communicate with them “I’m with you. I’ve got your back. Even when you’re at your worst and I don’t like the way you’re acting, I love you, and I’m here for you. I understand you’re having a hard time and I am here.”
  • If a child is misbehaving they are often one of these: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
  • Before responding to misbehavior, ask yourself Why? What? How?
    • Why did he act this way – what is he trying to express?
    • What lesson do I want to teach?
    • How can I best teach this lesson?
  • Avoid time-outs. Children experience this as rejection when what they need is connection. “It’s during these times that a child most needs our comfort and calm presence. Forcing her to go off and sit by herself can feel like abandonment to a child… You don’t want to send the message that you’ll be in a relationship with her when she’s “good” or happy, but you’ll withhold your love and affection when she’s not.”
  • Consider “time-in,” sitting with your child to talk about what could be done differently
  • Find a way to turn No into YES. Instead of saying no to what your toddler wants, say a conditional yes – yes we can read another story tomorrow. Yes you can watch more truck tunes after dinner.
  • Emphasize the positive. Instead of saying “stop whining” say “I like when you talk in your normal voice” or “ask me in your powerful big-boy voice that way I can really listen.”

One of the best things of the book is this “refrigerator sheet” in the back — now hanging on our fridge!

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So here is what we’ve been trying recently for our little guy:

  • Are his basic needs being met — is he tired/hungry? Is he feeling safe and secure?
  • Can I find ways to give him more attention and love? Does he need to be held? What activity can we do together right now – sing a song, draw a picture? Is there any way to make him laugh?
  • Is he exercising enough? Does he need to go run around outside?
  • Has he been eating food that nourishes him? Are we avoiding sugar and sweets?
  • Can I help teach him empathy by showing him that his behavior can make me feel sad?
  • Can I find a way to YES to something he wants?
  • Can I tell him what I LIKE about his behavior?

It’s a work in progress. And while I’ve talked mostly about the challenging times, this is also one of the most fun and rewarding times watching him learn and grow.

I’m also trying to appreciate what a great yoga teacher he is for his mama.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Chris August 26, 2016 at 12:50 am

Wonderful parenting advice!

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