Morning yoga with young children.
Cassandra, here, Kids Yoga Stories Community Manager!
I wanted to share a personal story with you today because it reminds me of a topic that we hear LOTS about: finding the time for morning yoga practice… while you’ve got young children around.
We hear things like: “I just don’t have the time anymore!” or “How can I find time for myself when I’m busy caring for my children?” or “What does morning yoga with young children look like?”
Life is crazy busy, especially for parents. We know it can be hard to keep up with a morning yoga practice when you’ve got a full plate and you’re knee-deep in children!
Listen, I used to think I was pretty good at balancing my everyday tasks with kids around.
As a classroom educational assistant in a high-needs classroom of 10 to 15 children, there were many times I had to manage my own tasks along with my kiddos’ needs—and don’t forget about those unplanned interruptions!
All while remaining mindful (and teaching them to be mindful) at the same time!
I considered myself a pro at balancing chaos and calm, especially after seven years of doing this day in and day out.
All that changed when my sister, a single mom, brought my beautiful nephew into the world and into my home in November 2021.
As I stepped into this supporting parent and auntie role, my life changed forever. I learned how hard this balancing act can be when little ones are at home with you. All. The. Time.
(Realization hit me… I am NOT a pro balancer at all!)
There are no breaks. No time-outs. You can’t say goodbye at the end of the day, like I used to at school. They are always around.
They are your priority. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
It’s hard to find time for yourself. To maintain a self care routine. To keep up with a morning yoga practice (or to start one!).
I experienced this struggle firsthand, for the first time.
I used to have the PERFECT morning routine.
Get up early. Meditate. Read. Journal. Yoga. Get ready for work.
Today, I no longer have this luxury.
I help my sister out most mornings, especially when she needs a bit of extra sleep when my nephew has had bad nights.
I knew I had to make some sacrifices, but I didn’t want to completely sacrifice my morning yoga and mindfulness routine—because I KNOW how crucial it is to fill my own cup so I can overflow into others around me.
As I thought about this new life challenge, I remembered that obstacles like this are a necessary part of growing.
They help us to shift our perspective. To push our boundaries. To think outside the box!
When things do not go your way, remember that every challenge—every adversity—contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth.Roy T. Bennett
So that’s what I had to do.
I got outside of my own head, outside of my own limits, and got creative with my morning yoga routine!
Here are a few tips that helped me (and my sister) continue to get yoga into our days – even with my little nephew around:
GET YOUR 3 POSTERS HERE
5 Tips to Help You Get Creative with Your Time and Squeeze In A Morning Yoga Practice Into Your Day—Even With Little Ones Around
1. Shorten the Time Period and Eliminate Expectations
There is no need for a perfect thirty minutes or an hour to do yoga. Use the time you’ve got, whether that be one minute, two minutes, or five. There is this incessant need for everything, including time, to be perfect before pursuing something. We wait for that “perfect moment” to start, but the truth is… the perfect moment never comes!
Instead, MAKE your own moments! I used to have a good two hours to myself in the mornings. I did thirty minutes of yoga. These days, I have five minutes. And I’m okay with that. Because doing yoga, even for five minutes, is better than not doing it at all.
2. Consider Waking Up Earlier
I know parenting young ones is full of many exhausting and sleepless nights, so please know I’m not saying you should get out of bed hours earlier. You NEED your sleep. What about getting up five minutes earlier than you would to make your morning coffee? What about two minutes?
That’s it! Remember the “ditching perfection” rule from above! Starting your day off with a quick stretch to care for your mind and body will help you step into that parenting role wholeheartedly.
3. Get Creative When Kiddos Are Around
Consider practicing a bit of morning yoga and breathwork while watching your child(ren) play, while they are sitting in an activity chair or swing. Or even while they’re eating in their highchair! Do some mindful movement and take some deep belly breaths while being fully present with your busy child!
If your little one is a slightly older and more mobile, get them involved with you! Children are sponges. They watch what you’re doing and imitate it. Role modeling your morning yoga practice will set them up for success by helping them build healthy habits for later on in life!
4. Take Advantage of Morning Naptimes
Your child’s morning nap is the perfect time for YOU to reset. Remember, your morning yoga practice doesn’t have to be the very first thing you do in the mornings. It’s possible to do it in the morning during their first nap. Naptimes sometimes get used up to prep, clean, etc. before your child wakes up.
It’s too easy to neglect yourself, but I’m telling you it’s OKAY to spend five of these precious naptime minutes for YOU.
5. Cosleeping? No Problem! Practice Yoga in Bed
Ever practiced Yoga Nidra? It is the PERFECT yoga practice to do lying with your baby. Yoga nidra is one big body scan! Normally, yoga nidra is done lying on your back in savasana—if you have that luxury, great!
But you can also lie on your side (or any other position you need to cuddle your baby). This is, of course, not a practice I do myself with my nephew, but I’ve coached my sister into taking advantage of yoga nidra while she cosleeps and breastfeeds.
Looking To Get Your Toddlers Involved Too? Check Out These Ideas!
- Practice “wake up yoga” together! Incorporate a morning yoga practice you can do together. It can be as simple as doing five short yoga poses together. Check out these simple flows!
- Wind down at night with a yoga book at bedtime!
- Warming up for activity is important! Try some yoga stretches before playtime.
- Practice yoga as a team! Have some fun with adult-partner poses!
- Do breathwork together! Practice different breathing techniques. Remind your child to come back to these breaths when they feel off or need to get back to calm.
- Have fun with simple yoga games like “Yogi says”!
- FUN FACT: Children (and adults 😛) learn new concepts better when combining an action with the concept. Why not let that action be yoga?! So if you’re trying to teach your toddler to recognize colors, shapes, ANYTHING… try doing a yoga pose along with it!
- Look for teachable yoga moments everywhere you go! Remember, yoga is more than just practicing physical postures. Yoga is a way of life… Use yoga to teach kindness, honesty, happiness, and many others!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cassandra Troughton (a.k.a. Miss T) is an educational assistant from Canada. She has worked with Edmonton Public Schools for over seven years, primarily in the special needs adaptability program (Gr. 1-6) and as the Health and Wellness lead at her school in Edmonton, Alberta. Her passions include health, wellness, and the practice of mindfulness! She loves passing on her knowledge of mindfulness to her students and fellow educators. You can find her at https://mindfulmisst.com/.