It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Stef from AskaNanny.com who is a firm supporter of toddler and baby yoga. She details the benefits of yoga for babies and toddlers below from her experience as a nanny and mother of two young boys.
I love yoga for babies and toddlers – as a nanny and mother I start introducing baby yoga moves as early as 1 week old! As they grow there are so many reasons why it can be a great experience for you both and helpful in supporting their emotional and physical development.
Benefits of toddler and baby yoga:
When you practice baby yoga with a newborn the focus is completely on them and their body, you speak directly to them and maintain eye contact as you guide their body through the poses which helps them to feel comfortable and safe. Baby yoga has a lot of similarities to baby massage with a focus on skin-to-skin contact but you can add breathing exercises and stretches as well. Doing yoga with your toddler is a great way to bond since this is the age of imitation, independence and big body development. Watching you move into a pose and then being able to do it themselves is a great independent accomplishment within a shared experience!
2. Body Awareness
Learning about their whole body from a young age helps babies and toddlers to take ownership of their development in a way that will help them to understand their movements and abilities more deeply and even push their abilities to the next level. A baby who practices snake pose with you will have a heightened understanding of their neck and head weight and possibly use this knowledge to swing themselves over and roll on their own.
3. Brain Development
Most kids yoga poses cross the mid-line of the body which can be important for brain stimulation because crossing the mid-line of the body engage both sides of the brain, strengthening the corpus callosum (the section that connects the two hemispheres). This is important to sensorimotor integration and improving cognition on the whole (read more about mid-line studies here.)
4. Bedtime Routine
Incorporating certain yoga moves into your baby or toddlers routine will at first be exciting but eventually settle down to become a great way for them to connect with you after a busy day. Routines are important before bedtime for any aged child because doing the same thing each night signals their brains and bodies to shut down and switch to sleep mode. Engaging their whole body and senses is the most effective way to send a message to the brain so adding a book or a special song to a bedtime routine of yoga is the perfect mix.
What are some of your favorite baby yoga poses?
Stef Tousignant is the nanny with the answers. Ask your question on AskaNanny.com and cut out the trial and error of the first years! You will get customized answers to all your baby and toddler questions ASAP. You can even email Stef your question at unravelme at askananny dot com or ask her on Facebook and Twitter #thenannyisin
You might like our yoga books for toddlers:
Good Night, Animal World
A Kids Yoga Bedtime Book
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