Toddler Yoga - Your Questions Answered
What can a toddler get out of a yoga session?
I am so excited to be launching my Toddler Yoga sessions but I am sure there will be many of you thinking “how on earth can a toddler do yoga?” after all many of them have only just mastered the art of walking.
What is a toddler yoga session like?
I’m not crazy, toddlers can really benefit from yoga or perhaps ‘pre-yoga’ is a better definition and so can their parents.
As you peek into a yoga session with toddlers you will see an array of props from picture books, scarves, ribbons to bean bags, bubbles and a parachute.
You may see some excellent downward dogs from children and maybe some parents acting as tunnels as their child crawls through their legs. You are definitely likely to hear some animal noises or some very loud roars. Using short stories, nursery rhymes and games, a toddler yoga session is usually noisy, engaging and above all, fun. The attention span of a toddler is short so moving from one activity to another is a must. I don’t expect a 2 year old to sit still as we meditate and I know you won’t too. We attempt a little relaxation at the end of a session with some quiet time but if your little one isn’t feeling it at the time then don’t worry. The idea of the relaxation is for you to use when the time is right at home, maybe adding it to a bedtime routine.
Ok, so I know what to expect but why should I attend with my toddler?
There are lots of benefits for toddlers, here are just a few;
Balance and co-ordination – as both the parent and I model a yoga pose for a child (perhaps a dog, tree, etc) it encourages the child to imitate the pose and these poses all help to develop balance and co-ordination. Their gross motor skills are still developing and we are giving them a big helping hand.
Crossing midline activities – activities such as roly poly arms, windmills and giving ourselves a hug all cross the midline that help with brain development. It is called cross lateral connectivity which helps create a bridge between the left and right sides of the brain, helping your child with the next stage of their development. Crossing the midline is necessary for so many things in our daily lives from putting on socks to reading and writing. It doesn’t become a mastered skill until the age of 3 or 4 so the more we do at the toddler stage, the easier it will become.
Body awareness – As we touch our toes or move our shoulders up and down, it helps your child connect and understand their bodies and the different body parts. Quick games such as head, shoulders, knees and toes are excellent to play and are often played as quick breaks between different activities.
Language – By using picture books and songs, we help develop a toddler’s vocabulary as well as making the class engaging and fun.
Relaxation and self-soothing – Fun breathing games and techniques help a child connect with their breath and press the pause button on their busy, active minds. This all helps in the build up to introducing short meditations in our pre-school yoga classes. Breathing and meditation calm the central nervous system, slowing the heart rate, reducing stress and aiding relaxation and sleep.
What are the benefits for parents?
Parents get to engage with their toddler in a fun and different way. They can explore the yoga poses and breathing techniques together.
Parents are encouraged to do all of the yoga poses (your toddler learns from you) even if your little one is more interested in a prop at that time so you get to stretch out the stresses of the day. You also pick up some handy breathing tips for yourself as well as ways of helping your child through a toddler tantrum.
OK, we’re in…… where can I attend a toddler yoga class?
Great news, our toddler class for ages 18 months to 2.5 years will begin on Friday 8th March 11:30am to 12:15pm at Briercliffe Children Centre, Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Our preschool yoga class for ages 2.5 to 4 years is on the same day and venue but at the later time of 1:30pm – 2:15pm.
I hope to see lots of you there. Don’t forget to like the Facebook page/ Instagram Page/ Twitter for details of each class and to book your spot.
See you on the mat, Namaste.