February 13, 2009

A Month of Calming and Soothing

As a teacher of baby, toddler, and preschooler yoga, I get asked quite frequently for suggestions about calming and soothing, and helping little ones to sleep. So, I thought I would spend the next month offering a different strategy each day.

Today's Soother:
Take advantage of the sixth sense, your child's vestibular system! Ever notice that toddlers and preschoolers run around in circles a lot? Or that babies love to be bounced?

Sounds counterintuitive, but boisterous activity may be called for when it comes to calming a wound up wee one. Try bouncing, rocking, and spinning activities - begin fast, and get slower. With babies, match your rhythm and intensity to their breath, then bring things to a calmer place by gradually reducing your pace.

For toddlers and preschoolers - songs that involve bouncing on your lap (Hop Along Yogi and Trot Old Joe come to mind immediately) make a great start. Try running around together and shouting "Stop!" then falling to the floor in fake/dramatic exhaustion. Once you have your child's attention, are in sync energy-wise, and can bring things down to the floor (as opposed to bouncing off the walls!), you can start to introduce quieter activities. Massage or backrubs can make a good transition. If you're familiar with Itsy Bitsy Yoga, try some Heartwarm Touch with your little one. Older toddlers and preschoolers will also enjoy giving mom or dad a backrub.

Check back tomorrow for more ideas (and know that these will work on grown ups, too! seriously - next time you're too wired for bed, try running around the room singing a song, then calling out, "stop!" while falling to the floor giggling...get someone you love to give you a nice shoulder rub, and then just try not to feel more relaxed and ready for sleep!).

Photo Credit:
Sharona Jacobs Photography
"Photographing your family as you are"

1 comment:

Irene J Harvey said...

I loved the the very valid suggestion about the rhythms of young children, and learning when they need to be bounced, or enjoy some other energetic activity. I do also know that you have to know when to stop, and wind them down.
A good gentle bedtime story cannot be beaten. Never have one that is scary or will disturb their minds in any way.
I am the mother of 3 adult sons, and 10 grandchildren, and have always written for them. I have now had my first book published, and perhaps you would consider this for the little ones.
Irene J Harvey