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Parents often ask us parenting questions at It’s Yoga Kids®. We have some thoughts that don’t quite fit into the typical models. You can easily compare theories, traits, effects, and proponents of each style, and see well-researched science. We would add a parenting style to the to the list and we’d call it Zen Parenting. It’s how we teach successfully at It’s Yoga Kids®.

Zen Parenting is a hybrid of Authoritative Parenting and Gentle Parenting that emphasizes parents being calm problem solvers who value listening to their children’s input to create win-win outcomes for both parties whenever possible. The parent is the clear leader here and does have the authority to guide and/or make decisions and be empathetic allowing feelings to be felt, including disappointment. ☹

It’s based on a structure or framework that is mostly predictable to create safety, but also flexible to build adaptability. It’s a Go With the Flow model that includes regulation, reflection, resilience and responsibility so that over time, kids can fly their own helicopters!

Check out WeTheParents.org, a family resource promoting simple, meaningful parenting.

When you ask parents worldwide what they want for their children, survey results show these top three desires: healthy, happy and successful. That resonates for me, as a parent, and for most of the parents I know. Yet, what I’ve noticed over the last decade in our school environments, and what current statistics on youth wellness validate, is in stark contract. 

What a growing number of parents actually do is different than what they say they want for their kids. What they do resembles more of the bionic kid: a faster, better and smarter one. This shows up with over-scheduling, over-indulging and over-pressuring for performance in school, in sports, and even in friendships. This phenomenon is resulting in a significant increase in anxiety, depression, and suicide for today’s youth.  

It’s natural for parents to want more for their kids than what they had, but at what expense?  Helicopter Parenting, and the latest trend, Lawnmower Parenting, have significant drawbacks to the health, wellness, success and happiness of our kids. Some parents’ overzealous intentions may not translate to their ultimate outcomes for their children. And worse, they can damage the relationship over time, which can lead to severe pain and unhealthy coping methods for kids. Substance abuse affects 50% of kids under 18. Self-mutilation affects 1 in 4 kids teenagers.

Being a kid is difficult. Being a parent is difficult. We need each other and we’re in this together. Every time I read an article or hear an expert author speak on this crisis, I think Yoga is a solution. Yoga elevates one’s awareness, attitude and actions. Through meditation, mantras and movement, it can be a healthy coping method for parents and kids to make better choices for themselves and for their relationships. Understanding the “why” behind our actions can be very powerful to change our actions. 

For me, the biggest lesson in parenting is when to give an encouraging push and when to back off and support. And that is different for each kid. Mistakes are bound to happen. When a line is crossed on either side, we work to be accountable for our actions and to make the relationship right again by communicating our intensions, feelings and re-aligning them with the reality of what is happening in the moment. With this, we can better respond with loving care to achieve our highest potential.

Yoga can help with kids sleep and help them wake up in the morning. It takes 2 to 10 minutes to incorporate Yoga into your routine at home.

Follow these simple tips:

3 Steps to get Kids to Sleep at Night

  1. Move. Goodbye Yoga sequence
  2. Meditate. Body Scan. Relax every body part starting with toes to head 
  3. Mantra. Breathe in: I am safe. Breathe out: I am loved.

3 Steps to Get Kids Up in the Morning

  1. Meditate. 10min of awake but quiet cuddle time
  2. Move. In bed: Body tapping or wiggles body parts from toes to head. Out of bed: Hello Yoga sequence
  3. Mantra. Set an Intension or a Word for the Day

The Sanskrit word ‘mantra’ translates to ‘instrument for thinking’, they are a powerful way to direct your mind towards positive thoughts, feelings and experiences.

 

Toddlers, ages one to three years old, are natural explorers and they move with their whole body. Their new-found freedom means parents are busy keeping them safe and re-directing them from potential harm. The toddler brain is fired up for development with language and learning through modeling.  

Yoga is a fun way to engage in song, animal poses, and to experience the contrast of movement and stillness that promotes awareness and self-control.  Yoga practices help parents and toddlers manage the emotional highs and lows of tantrums and power struggles. Thank goodness; we all need help with those!

Together, parents and toddlers breathe and connect with respect in Yoga. It’s a joyful process to play with downward dog, and other age appropriate poses, that benefit everyone.

Babies are born to do Yoga. The poses are the path to walking. Yoga models baby’s natural growth for brain and body development, and each of baby’s developmental milestones happens to be a Yoga pose! 

Developmental Milestones

Yoga Pose

Birth/Fetal Position

Child's Pose

Tummy Time

Cobra Pose

Finding Feet

Happy Baby Pose

Sitting Up

Butterfly Pose

Hands and Knees to Crawl

Cow Pose

Hands and Feet to the Floor

Downward Dog Pose

Standing Up

Mountain Pose

Walking/Balance on One Leg

Tree Pose


Babies build all of these skills in approximately the first 12 to 18 months of life. Yoga stimulates motor development to promote healthy weight gain, strength, and mobility. Affected internal systems include: respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and perhaps the most important, baby’s nervous system, which encourages the ability to self-soothe over time.  

For parents, Yoga can help manage fears and regulate emotions, enabling baby to feel safe, connected and calm. Everyone wins when baby sleeps well and parents feel confident they can meet their baby’s needs. Yoga nurtures the bond between parents and their baby and lays a healthy foundation for movement and mindfulness for life.

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Learn all sorts of useful tips about Yoga for Kids!