toddlers

You haven’t failed: “It takes a village to raise a child”

I have a natural desire to be that “perfect” mom; the one who has all the answers. I want to diagnose every illness, get my kids to eat their veggies, solve behavioral problems, teach them to sleep perfectly, and of course show them everything they need to know in life.

I want my kids to be healthy, happy, and well-behaved – and I want it all to be easy!

As hard as I work to achieve this perfection, reality hits –  I’m not supermom and this isn’t possible!  Yet, when I can’t do it, a part of me feels like I have failed.

In today’s society there is this huge pressure to do it all on our own.  We feel that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness or failure.  This is completely backwards - we can’t do everything on our own and  that is okay!

I love the phrase It takes a village to raise a child.”  Parenting is hard! Kids are complicated. I don’t know it all and sometimes I need to ask for help! Looking for resources available to me and my children is not a sign of defeat.  Finding the right support system for me can be an amazing gain for my child. Sometimes I can find this in my spouse or my family or friends, but at other times I need specialized and professional guidance.

Asking for help is not an admittance of defeat, it is a courageous act and a necessary piece of support for many families. I found this out the hard way.

My first child was an amazing sleeper. So easy to put to bed, slept through the night. I actually had to wake him up most of the time. Then comes Mr. 2 and our world was flipped upside down. He never wanted to be put down, had to sleep right next to me, would make himself sick when we tried to put him to bed.

What happened?  I did everything the same and it just wouldn’t work. Then came Mr. 3 and I was overwhelmed. I was lacking the sleep I required to parent the way I wanted. My children were not benefiting from the biological processes that support memory, health, growth and cognitive development as they sleep. Their behavior was irritable, forgetful and emotionally unstable. I knew this was because of their poor sleep, but I didn’t know what to do.

I struggled for years and I had to make a change and reach out for help! I connected with a dear friend who was working as a Sleep Consultant (scary term, yes I know). I was amazed to find out that sleep was such an individualized piece of every family and unique for every child. I was excited to learn that “sleep training” could be done in a way to support ALL parenting styles, using gentle and sensitive methods. I was blown away that during sleep short term memory transfers to long term memory, growth hormones are released, muscles are restored, tissues are rebuilt and repaired, nerve cells are rewired.  My children were missing out on a healthy development because I didn’t have the tools I needed and was too scared to ask for help.

After reaching out for help, getting the support and encouragement I needed to help them succeed, sleep became my passion. I continued my education and became a Certified Pediatric Sensitive Sleep Consultant. I joined up with my amazing friend and mentor Hannah at www.AtoZSleepSolutions.com and have been supporting families through their own sleep journeys with children ages birth through 5 years.  

 

Sleep can be a complicated puzzle. There are so many environmental and biological factors that work with or against each other and you don’t have to go through this alone. If you need to reach out for help, that’s okay – “It takes a village to raise a child”!

If you have a little one who is struggling with sleep I would love to point you in the right direction. Sign up for my Blooma workshop A to Z Sleep Solutions 4-24 months on December 1st in Minneapolis, or reach out to me at 612-460-1140. I am here to listen and would love to be a part of your village - working together with you to give your child the best start possible on their sleep journey.  

Written by Kate Swanson, Certified Sensitive Sleep Consultant

Kate is a busy mom of four who balances the joys and struggles of mamahood with supporting other families as a Sleep Coach with www.AtoZSleepSolutions.com , member of the International Institute of Complimentary Therapists, and a local community resource for sleep education. 

Learn more and sign up for our upcoming workshop “A to Z Sleep Solutions (for kids 4 – 24 months)” on December 1st at Blooma Minneapolis with Kate Swanson. 

10 Tips for Teaching Yoga to Toddlers

Teaching toddlers can be a lot of fun AND very challenging. Just what is appropriate for these youngest of Yoga students?

I just started another six-week session called Toddler Time Yoga yesterday. Many kids who have attended previous sessions were there, along with several new moms and kids. The kids who had attended previously knew me and our class routine.  The new kids, and new moms were at times overwhelmed.  I, along with other experienced moms, assured them that their child's free-style behavior was just fine for class and that they too would learn the routine and structure while making new friends and having fun. 

Teaching toddlers is a blast because they are full-on. You know when they are happy – squealing with delight, and when they are sad – on the floor with arms flailing and tears flowing.  It's like they are "Life Force" coming out of a fire hose.  I've tried many different techniques and refined a structure over the years that is engaging and fun for them, while keeping parents sane.

People often ask for suggestions for teaching Yoga to this very young age group so I’ve compiled a list that can help you get toddlers into Yoga.

Ten Tips for Teaching Toddlers:

1) Provide structure– At this age everything is new, so by providing some predictability, toddlers can relax and enjoy knowing what’s next.

2) Include the parents– Parents practice along to model the practice.  It gives them a chance to have fun and relax too!

3) Surprise and delight with props– This is one thing that makes teaching this age range so much fun. They are thrilled by so much. Give them scarves to run around with while you play a dance song = sheer joy.

4) Manage your expectations– Both teachers and parents will have a lot more fun if it is understood where a 2.5 year old is at developmentally. Sitting still and paying attention are skills yet to be developed.

5) Play music– There are thousands of great bands catering to the toddler set. The music is peppy and often involves lyrics that direct the little ones how to move.  One of my most used songs is Airplane Song by The Laurie Berkener Band.

6) Use storybooks– Storybooks include characters that can be turned into yoga poses. The images are engaging and it keeps the class moving along.

7) Promote a language-rich environment– Language acquisition is a major developmental endeavor at this age so expose them to both written and spoken words and letter recognition. For example, a class about the letter T.

8) Allow space for their big emotions– The happiest kid in my class yesterday was also the most upset. It’s not until kids are 4 or 5 that they are able to start reigning in emotions.

9) Be a source of steadiness and calm– Your presence has a huge impact on the kids. Both the parents and the kids are looking to you for direction as well as a sense of the energy level. When you are even-keeled, your class will be too.

10) Have fun! Don’t worry too much about proper alignment or even getting all the way through the book. These kids are socializing, turn-taking, talking, getting in lots of gross motor movement and having fun. Relax and join them in the fun!

Want to learn all the tips and tricks for teaching yoga to Toddlers? Join Mira Binzen for her professional training, "Teaching Yoga to Toddlers", February 4th at Blooma. Interested in teaching to the whole family? She will also be leading "Teaching Yoga to Families", February 5th.

mira

Mira Binzen has a degree in child psychology and is a certified Yoga and iRest® Yoga Nidra teacher, Yoga therapist, and co-founder of Global Family Yoga (globalfamilyyoga.com), a teacher-training program based in Chicago, focused on children and families.