Today we are welcoming YBCer Veronica, who is breezing through to share ten tips and tricks to keep your toddler busy so you can have a moment to practice. Hope you guys enjoy! xoCandace
You know those gorgeous pictures on Instagram of parents doing yoga with their kids?
Don't you just love those sweet and inspiring images?
Before having a kid, I often daydreamed of sharing the mat with my little darling. Showing her the proper way to spread her fingers across her little pink mat and teach her the correct way to "stack her hips." But my 3-year-old daughter Catarina has no interest in practicing alongside mommy. Instead, she'd rather wrap her arms around my neck and bring me to the floor the way a second string quarterback crumples to the ground when getting sacked. She delights in trying to lift my foot off the floor while I'm in three-legged dog and this child even has the nerve to jump on my stomach while I rest in savasana.
And she laughs!
I’ve been practicing yoga for years, and before I had a kid, it was easy to find quiet time to get in my daily practice. These days? Not so much. But in the past couple of years, I’ve learned a few tricks to get in a quick practice. So here are 10 tips for keeping your toddler distracted while you get in some much needed “me” time.
Disclaimer: Each kid is different so what might distract my daughter for 20 minutes isn’t guaranteed to work on your kid.
1. Tiny, tiny chopped snacks. I do this for breakfast when I know she’s really hungry and more likely to eat slowly. I serve her a plate of her favorite foods that typically includes sliced up toast, blueberries, cucumbers, apples, bananas, and granola. All of the options and small portions can buy me some uninterrupted time.
2. Build a blanket fort. I’m talking an intricate fort made of blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and even boxes. Then set them loose on it while you step away. Just make sure nothing heavy is holding it together that could come crashing down on a bouncy toddler.
3. Purchase a special toy. Consider this to be just another yoga prop. Like a belt or foam block. It only comes out when you hit the mat and only while you're practicing. Afterward, it goes away. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, but the point is that your child learns it is a limited time only gift. Which means they'll cherish their time together —all 15 minutes of it.
4. Screen time. Now I know this may be controversial, but I don’t see anything wrong with a 25 minute educational show. Chances are they will learn more in that 25 minutes than they will while performingwind sprints around you as you try to “center yourself.”
5. Put them to sleep. No, not in a sleeper hold. Please don't do that. I’m talking about rolling out your mat while they are napping, early in the morning before they rise or right after they go to bed for the night.
6. Get outside. Take your mat outside and get some play time in while your kid gets theirs. You can do this in your yard or at a park. Just make sure your little bundle of joy stays in eye sight and ear shot.
7. Water play. This is best reserved for homes that aren’t carpeted. Fill up a plastic bin halfway or a kiddie pool with water and put a few toys in there, maybe even some bubbles! Put your little one in a bathing suit and let them go to town. Just make sure you can see them at all times. Water accidents are no joke.
8. Flashlights. I don’t know what it is, but my kid loves to play with flashlights. I give her one, and she leaves me alone for at least 15 minutes.
9. Toilet paper roll. Now stay with me on this one. My daughter loves to play with toilet paper, as do most children. In preschool they let the kids rip up paper because it's supposed to help their motor skills or something. I’ve been known to take a half-used roll and hand it to her. I let her make a mess with that thing while I get in a little stretching and then when she’s done I scoop it all up and salvage what I can for potty time and runny noses. This is only appropriate for kids who understand the difference between a “playtime roll” and the roll that is in the bathroom.
10. That thing you usually say "no" to. We all have it. It's that thing your kid loves to do, but for whatever reason, you usually don't allow it. Maybe for you, that's screen time. Or eating on the furniture. For me, it's playdough. I know what you’re thinking. "Play dough? Really? What's so bad with that?" Nothing, as long as your kid doesn't nibble on it like a mouse with a cheese wheel! My daughter loves to eat playdough, so I only give it to her while flying or when practicing yoga.
So, there you have it, 10 tips and tricks for keeping your little one happy while you find your happy place. And remember, your home practice will never mimic a studio practice. It simply can’t if you have a house full of kids and pets. Those creatures are unpredictable, and really, that's a beautiful thing. Instead of getting frustrated by your little one for interrupting your practice, try sweeping them up in your arms for a big hug and deep inhale of the sweet smell of dirt, baby shampoo, and sugar. Because pretty soon they'll grow up and it will be just you and your mat.
Veronica Craker lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, daughter and their loveable Labradoodle. She is a former journalist who now works in marketing and communications, and blogs about life, travel and more here.