Category Archives: Preschool

Spooky Yoga

With Halloween last night it’s always fun to get in the spooky spirit and be a little creative when doing kids yoga.  On Friday during my kids classes I asked everyone to come up with a yoga posture that could be a Halloween pose.   Of course childrens creativity is always flowing and the response and fun we had was incredible.  Some children came up with postures that were brand new. For example little A wanted to be a jumping witch, so we hoped on one foot as we challenged our balance and stability.  Some children used yoga postures they were familiar with and put a new name to them. For savasana (corpse pose, or as the preschoolers call it “sleeping star”) K decided that we would spread our legs a little farther apart, reach our arms above head placing the hands together, and ta da……we are broomsticks!  Try it out with your kids…….maybe they will then clean your floors for you 😉

You could be a spooky black yoga cat by coming onto your hands and knees then arching your back as you look towards your belly button or knees. Meoowww!

Another creative posture I really liked was a pumpkin.  Laying down on your back hug your knees into your chest.  Wrap your arms around the outside of your legs and place your hands together in prayer pose on the top of your shins (this is the stem of your pumpkin).

Here is my little Yoda…..we are still trying to come up with an appropriate yoga posture!

Yogic Road Tripping

Heading out on the road this summer with the kids and looking for some fun music that will uplift will bringing calmness and serenity to your family? Want something that will make you feel good while listening to the continuous “are we there yet?!” Actually, if you are practicing some of this car yoga, you may end some of the famous “are we there yet” questions.

Check out this fantastic playlist that has some of my favourite yoga music and tunes we use in our kids yoga classes!

Get Your Yoga On….At the Park!

Heading to the park with the kiddies and enjoying the warm summer?  Head on over to Tools for Schools and check out  my post on a fun yoga game that gets all the kids involved, moving and having fun!

http://www.toolsforschools.ca/blog/?p=987

Relax & Drive

Heading out on a family car ride and looking for a great playlist that will calm your nerves, enjoyed by you and the kids?  Check out the latest playlist I have created for my car and hope you enjoy it too!

http://www.toolsforschools.ca/blog/?p=927

Discipline with Love

As a veteran nanny with over 10 years of experience I have seen my fair share of tantrums, melt downs and have had days where I never thought we would be able to leave the house.  I have learned many tricks of the trade along the way, and have been hired by some families to help specifically with behavioural issues and discipline techniques.  As a yoga teacher I continually teach the principle of ahimsa, non harming, in all of my classes.  With respect to disciplining this may relate as emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually non-harming.

Parents you can discipline keeping in mind the principles of ahimsa and have success!  The biggest reason being consistency in how you choose to discipline.  With consistency your child begins to understand what the outcome will be, not may or could be, of their negative behaviour.  I had a great conversation with a few people on twitter the other night about discipline and how we choose to discipline our children.  I am here to share with you the technique that I have always used and found success with.  I have seen all types of negative toddler and preschool behaviour from hitting ones own parent, to stealing several different items, talking back, not listening and much more! 

Full disclosure –  I cannot stress enough that consistency is a big factor in successful discipline.  My husband often tells people the story of how we were standing outside with a little boy that I took care of and his parents when he started to run down the sidewalk.  Both parents began to tell him to come back and he continued to run.  I said his name once and he stopped dead in his tracks and walked back.  Why? He knew that I was always consistent in my discipline.  I wasn’t a bully about it, never lost my temper, always spoke in a calm way and never showed emotions towards the negative behaviour causing more of a reaction from the child that I didn’t want. 

1. Let your child know what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. Display positive behaviour yourself and recognize positive behaviour when your child displays it.

2. When your child displays behaviour that is not acceptable, immediately issue a warning. Get down to their eye level and speak in a calm but strong voice so your child understands that you are not playing.  Issue this warning no matter if you are at home, at the grandparents, at a park, or in a grocery store.  Hopefully the warning is enough for your child to change their choice of behaviour.  Inform your child that if they do not stop behaviour X that they will need to have a time out.

*note on time outs- I like to issue time outs in areas where I can see the child. ie: a stair step, or chair, park bench, etc. This ensures that I know the child is completing the time out, thinking about the behaviour displayed, taking time to cool down, etc. I don’t like sending a child to their room as they have toys and books to play with there, therefore defeating the purpose of a time out.  Your child can also see you, knowing that they are not being left alone.

3. If the child continues the negative behaviour immediately place them for a time out in a calm way. Continue to breathe throughout the process, knowing that if you get stressed the situation will not improve. Your child will feed off your energy. I give a minute of time out for each year of the child’s age.  See what works for your family.

4. If the child comes off the designated time out spot I calmly place them back on the step/chair and do not talk or negotiate with them as I do so.  The clock then starts again once they are properly sitting and no longer flailing their body around (I have seen some pretty good acts with this!). At times, especially in the beginning, you may spend what feels like hours placing your child back on the designated time out spot. I have had to cancel outings because I was still trying to complete the follow through process on a time out.  I promise that this does get easier. You are being tested by your child. They know that they can push your buttons and that in the past you may of become stressed, yelled or just gave in to the behaviour and stopped the time out process.

5. Once the child has completed the time out have them tell you why they were put in timeout, to make sure they understand the why, and have them apologize for the behaviour. Then share a nice big hug with your child and continue on with your day, leaving what just happened behind. Its time to start over 🙂

You will find over time as your child understands the family boundaries and what behaviour is socially acceptable you will have less and less negative behaviour.  Remember to stay calm, centered and know that you are recognizing negative behaviour and trying to correct it out of love for your child.

Car Yoga

Schools out and summer holidays are here. Along with this comes day camp, sleeping in and of course summer vacations!  As parents at times we need a vacation to recover from the vacation we just had with our family. The list making of what to bring, the packing of suitcases, bringing food along for the drive, packing games and activities for the car and making sure pets are taken care of while you are away and the mail brought in, is just the beginning preparation of getting away as a family.  My husband and I, being new parents, just took our first family vacation.  The amount of stuff we had to bring with an infant and the two of us was out of this world!  You can read about our journey at http://namastemommy.wordpress.com

If you have a long car ride ahead you may be a little worried about the possible endless “are we there yet?” requests.  Why not do a little yoga in the car to calm your own nerves while having fun with the kids piled in the back of the van?

1)      Tense & Relax- tighten up your whole body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Scrunch up your faces while you do it and see who has the funniest face! Then relax your whole body, becoming limp like a piece of cooked spaghetti. Relax your cheeks, mouth, shoulders, arms, etc.

2)      Visualization- Take a look out your window and find a tree that catches your attention. Maybe it was the tallest one you saw, shortest one, had many leaves, large branches, etc. Then close your eyes and visualize that tree in your mind. Can you remember what the branches looked like? Was the tree was blowing in the wind or standing still? Was the tree close to the road or farther away in a field?

3)      Cooling Breath- feeling a little overheated while in the car full of your luggage and your kids? Kids complaining that their sibling is looking at them or has happened to touch them (gasp!) Take time out to chill your mind and bring down your internal body heat with this cooling breathe. Stick out your tongue (not at each other!) and roll it to mimic a drinking straw. Slowly inhale through your “straw”, feeling the air become cool as it travels over your tongue and down into your body. Exhale through your nose. Continue to inhale through your “straw” and exhale through your nose until everybody in the car is laughing and enjoying the car ride together. Well, for now anyways

Namaste

~Amanda

The Lorax

I regularly incorporate books into our Little Lotus preschool & school age classes. It is a wonderful way to share powerful messages in a fun way that captures the attention of all.  I am absolutely in love with the book The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.  First published in the early 1970’s I find most parents of my students are familiar with this book and some families already have it in their repertoire of reading. If this book is not a part of your current family library I highly recommend that you consider its addition a valuable resource.

The book details what happens to the environment when the Oncler, who was fond of the great Truffala trees, decided to set up shop and begin production of turning the truffala trees into thneeds “something everyone needs”, a garmet of some sort.  The Lorax arrives, to speak for the trees, to stop the production of thneeds and help protect the environment. You see the trees produce wonderful fruits that feed the surrounding animals (Bar-ba-loots), and the pond where the Humming Fish swim is now being polluted due to the high production of the truffula trees to thneeds. There is no place for the fish to swim as their water becomes brown and murky and the swomee swans need to leave what was once a clean and safe place to live.  In the end, due to the Oncler’s greediness, there are no trees left. However, one last little Truffula seed is found, which is thrown out to you the reader, to plant the seed, take care of its growth and nurture it grow.  Basically, the seed is thrown to the reader to make the decision of what they will do with the one last seed that is left. Will you take care of it? nurture it and invite the re-growth of the Truffala trees and bring back all the wonderful creatures that once lived there?

This book always brings forth a great conversation, no matter the age-group, on protecting our environment, what happens when pollution occurs, how we can protect the earth and create an everlasting environment that can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Here are some questions you may wish to engage your child in:

1. How did you like the Truffula tree and the pond where the Humming Fish swam at the start of the book. (You  may wish to sort back through to show the picture again of the bountiful trees and fresh blue water)

2. What happened to the trees and the pond when the Oncler began a large production of making thneeds?

3.  Where would you prefer to live (where the Truffula trees are still in tact & Bar-ba-loots enjoy the bountiful fruit, or where the trees have all been cut and the brown murky water pond)  and why?

4. How can we, as a family, help in protecting the earth and our environment? What can we do if we find garbage at the park when we go for a play? Why do we compost or recycle and do you like doing these things to help the earth stay healthy?

5. Consider planting a tree or plant with your family and nurture it to growth together.  Would your child like to do this and what responsibilities would they like to take on to make sure it thrives? will they aid in the actual planting? daily watering? ensuring it gets enough sunlight?

What are you doing already as a family to nurture our wonderful Mother Nature and make sure there is a thriving environment for our future generations? Please share so we can learn from each other and work towards a cleaner and safer Planet Earth 🙂

Namaste

~A