early childhood education

Massage for the growing Child

A quick photo of my little one having a foot massage just become nap time.

As our babies start to grow they will most likely become less inclined to just lay down on the mat, lie nice and still and let their parents massage. However, the benefits of positive touch don’t stop just because babies a little by older. Oxytocin will still be produced and we can still help with any of those tummy aches and pains. In fact all of the benefits to massage are still there.

This is now where we either need to have it slotted into our routine so little knows what is coming next or start making it more fun for little one.

If we were making it part of our routine, it maybe best to start this early in your little ones life. I have heard a lot of parents that fit Baby Massage into the bedtime routine after a bath.

But if your little one is like mine, after a bath she was always starving hungry (even if she had milk/food before), you could try working it into your morning routine if you have time or during a late afternoon / evening nappy change.

The massage routine doesn’t have to be long and you don’t always have to do the full routine. If you find there are some massage strokes that little one just isn’t in to, then leave them out or maybe do 1 area of the body each time you massage to bring something ‘new’ to little one.

Making the massage routine more fun can be a little bit tricker.

But we can sing lots of songs, as there are lots of nursery rhymes that can be used with our massage routine.

Go with Little Ones lead. If they roll over to back or front change your approach and massage the area that has now become accessible. Most of the massage strokes we teach on our courses can be done with little one sitting up.

Get the family involved. If it’s usually the same parent that does the massage, change over and have the other parent massage. Baby will then like the change of parent and benefit from the extra bonding with both.

Include sensory toys and make it a sensory massage session. Something extra to keep little one more interested and a massage at the same time. Something as simple as a sensory scarf or a light projector on the ceiling will work.

Change the time you do the massage. You can add massage into your routine to suit everyone.

Have you got any other ideas or things you do with your growing children?

early childhood education

Separation Anxiety

Sitting here after the longest, busiest week ever and also the week where I have spent the most time away from my Little One since before lockdown started, and i’ve realised that I miss her and she misses me.

Separation anxiety is real for children and parents. I hate leaving my Little One even though I was working, and she was with family.

My Little One has never stayed with anyone without me being there other than family, and by family, I only mean Grandparents or her Daddy. Even still I feel like I panic every time it comes to leave. I fuss over everything and explain about 1000 times that everything she needs is in her changing bag and what her routine is, even though everyone knows this by now.

It’s been a big week this week though as we have pretty much spent every waking moment together since March. We know each other’s routines and moods, and i can usually tell exactly what she wants if she can’t find the words.

Yesterday, me and Little One were separated for about 1 hour but when she came back and said “missed mum” I thought that’s it, no more working or phone until after your in bed and we’ve having playtime all afternoon. We both really enjoyed it after having such a busy week.

I think sometimes Separation Anxiety affects us parents more than the kids 99% of the time, but there are some ways in which can help:

💟Start with short little absences – This will help you and Little One understand that it’s time or ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’ to go now and by only going for a short while, you know you’ll be back soon and Little One can start understanding that your not going forever.

💟Start by leaving Little One with someone you know and feel comfortable with – If you leave Little One with a Grandparent or Best Friend to start with it might help you get used to the thought of leaving them when less familiar surroundings are needed.

💟Have a couple of trial sessions when you haven’t got to go to work and be unavailable (have a quiet coffee, do the cleaning without children running round) – Therefore if anything does happen and Little One really does need you, you can do pickup a little earlier.

💟Have something familiar with you and Little One – Maybe leave a soft toy with Little One that you brought (your always with them then) and if your at work maybe have the same small soft toy or a picture of them on your desk. I have a small passport sized baby photo of my Little One in the back of my phone case (yes, she’s my screensaver but there’s nothing like having an actual picture).

💟If your Little One is that little bit older and understands what is going on sit down and explain, that you have to go to work and you are going to pick them up later. Also if you drop into your everyday conversation that they will be going to Nanny’s or big school soon, they will get used to the idea and may even be excited when the time comes.

💟I have also seen some people draw a tiny heart or star on their hand and Little Ones hand, that way whenever Little One looks they feel a little comfort.

I hope by you seeing my story and some of the ways that I have found that help and relieve some of that anxiety, it can help you now or in the future.

early childhood education

Baby Milestones

While I’m sat here surrounded by birthday decorations and presents on the eve on my little ones 2nd birthday, it got me thinking about how hard Childrens milestones are for parents.

“2 tomorrow” I’m sat here thinking where have those 2 years gone and where is my little baby I brought home from the hospital. Stay little just that little bit longer.

With every milestone whether it be sitting up, rolling over, walking or talking your baby seems to get that little bit more grown up, but what does that do to us mums and dads.

Personally it makes me want my little baby back on arms where nothing and no one can hurt them. I’m all they need. I want my baby to develop and grow don’t get me wrong, but does time have to fly by so quickly.

It only seems like yesterday we were walking out of the hospital with our Little One tucked in her car seat, all of us nervous as hell as to what was in store for us.

That first night at home, we popped out Little One in her Moses Basket in the living room and just stared at her in awe, we couldn’t believe we could bring this Little Girl home and she was all ours!

Then Little One starts holding her head up, smiling, sitting up, even a little grab for a toy we held all broke my heart that our tiny little baby was growing up and quickly. Everyday I am amazed and heart broken by how much she’s changing and learning all the time.

But then on the other hand you start worrying that Little One isn’t developing properly. Should Little One be sitting or rolling by now? Are they happy, should they be smiling?

All babies are different they develop at different stages! I was worried as my Little One still hadn’t smiled for our 6 week check, but then the Health Visitor said as her reflux was terrible she probably didn’t have a lot to smile about. At the time I brushed this comment off and thought nothing off it and agreed, but sitting her 2 years later, I also remember thinking “why isn’t Little One happy, am I doing enough for her?” For some parents this would have been a real low comment to make from the Health Visitor.

All babies are different and will develop onto the next stage when they are ready and when they want to. We can encourage them and support them, but they are in control!

It’s a constant battle between worrying, excitement and fear of missing out!

Parents take that extra moment to watch them play, peep round the door when they are sleeping and just admire every moment we can spend with your Little One.

The housework can wait, the phone can wait.. your Little One growing up won’t wait.

Saviour all of those little moments with your babies, you never know when you’ll be sat there wondering where your baby has gone! Just always remember your not alone with these feelings!

early childhood education

What happens in a Toddler Yoga class…..

Ever wondered what happens during a Toddler Yoga class? Or what Toddler Yoga is?

I’ve broken down my class format to help explain and for you to understand what is involved.

I normally arrive at the venue around 20 minutes before the session starts to ensure that everything is setup in the room and to ensure that the room temperature feels right. If I was doing the class online, I normally panic put my little one to sleep and take over her playroom to setup for the session. An online session looks like the below:

Due to COVID-19 haven’t managed to complete a face to face class yet, but i am hoping in the near future that this will change!

Everyone feels included in my sessions as I do encourage parents to join in and support / encourage their child.

The classes are really relaxed and toddler let. If your child needs anything during the session, please feel free to take them to one side and help them.

Please talk to me prior to the sessions if your child has any vaccinations coming soon.

There is lots of singing during the session and we learn about different breathing techniques.

The class structure usually follows:

  • Health form completed before joining the session
  • Welcome / Introduction / Health & Safety points
  • Welcome song
  • Warm up for toddler and parents
  • Stretching and waking up our bodies
  • Story or theme walkthrough with yoga poses
  • Sensory play
  • Relaxation & settling down

To allow your child to feel more comfortable, I do encourage parents to join in with the complete session. The theme will be different every week, but the structure of the session will be the same.

The yoga poses will start to become familiar over the course of a term.

early childhood education

Setting the Scene at Home

If you wanted to do Baby Massage or Baby Yoga at home, what would that look like. We want to make a nice cosy environment for you and baby and to ensure that baby feels safe.

First you want to make to sure room is warm enough for baby to be undressed. You can usually gage this, by seeing if the room is warm enough for you to sit comfortably in a short sleeved top.

Then we want a nice soft area for baby to lay down. You could use a nice soft blanket or a changing mat on the floor.

If the room is darker or it’s part of your bedtime routine, you make want some soothing lights for baby to look at.

As we want baby to feel as secure as possible while lying down on the mat, keep a hand in contact at all times and use their favourite toy to soothe them.

I have used:

  • Blanket – for baby to lay on
  • Light & Sound Polar Bear – soothing melodies and changing lights on the ceiling
  • Teething Toy – if baby was teething to help them
  • Soft toy – baby’s comforter
  • Sensory Scarf
  • Tummy Time Pillow – if you were doing Back Massage this could encourage Tummy Time for baby as well

Remember to always ask permission before starting your massage and only perform on a baby who is awake, alert and generally well.