‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…
Over this past year, I was fortunate enough to learn about a kid’s yoga and mindfulness program that Kate-Bartram Brown had created called Mini Me Yoga. This program is now just one of the things that I do for both my daughter and myself, to keep both of us happy and to prepare for a good night’s rest.
For many of us parents, bedtime routines can be pure chaos! I know for me anyways, it used to be quite stressful. Leading up to bedtime actually made me anxious because I would start thinking of the meltdowns that would ensue, or the endless amount of negotiation and conversations just to get her to her room and put on her pj’s- it was a great challenge in our household. Although I have an abundance of knowledge and experience in children’s mental health and wellness as well as with how important transition time is for little ones to adjust to change and that sleep is important for healthy growth and development of children, I felt that I was failing. I could easily give parents some strategies to implement in their home routines to address challenges they were facing with their children, but when it came to my own child and healthy sleep habits, I felt I was at a loss.
I went on to hire a child sleep consultant, who I managed to work with and although it was trying at times, we finally figured it out! In addition, I wanted to ensure that I gave my daughter more than just a sleep routine, but also life skills that she could work with and how to use breathing and movement to help her know how to relax her mind and body at night. I also wanted to give her some tools to help herself during regular life experiences where she would be faced with stress, worry or anger for times that I would not be there with her along the way.
As the excitement of the holidays builds in anticipation of Christmas for many children, along with all this excitement can come the challenges of relaxing the mind and body to get a good night’s sleep. We know that sleep is important for our children, but I must admit, it’s equally important to us grown-ups too!
Below is a short list of how yoga can aid in a good night’s rest. I encourage you to try bringing yoga into your bedtime routine with your children and just see the difference it can make with helping your child not only go to sleep but sleep more soundly throughout the night!
- Yoga naturally relaxes the body’s muscles through movement and stretching
- Encourages the mind to relax by being in the present moment and focus on breathing
- Trampoline belly breathing teaches children to breath properly, to reduce stress on the heart and chest
- Yoga helps children to manage their emotions and be in tune with how they are feeling
- Yoga for children can be FUN! They are learning coping skills for everyday stressors and self-regulation but don’t realize it because they are having so much fun using their imagination during the process.
Christmas Traditions in Canada:
Christmas is celebrated by many people in Canada and the traditions vary from family to family as we are such a multicultural country. I thought I would share some of the traditions that we did in my family as a child growing up, that I still remember today, as it was always great fun during the holiday season.
Every year, it was tradition that all the grandchildren would get together with my grandmother and bake Christmas cookies. We would all bake and decorate the cookies and then divide them up to take home to our parents to enjoy. Then on Christmas Eve, my grandmother always made sure she had a stash of our homemade cookies and made sure the whole family was together to enjoy a Christmas Eve feast and our delicious cookies. We would always have the Chipmunks holiday music on as we would open our gifts from the family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) together.
When we got home on Christmas Eve, we would always leave out some homemade cookies and milk for Santa when he stopped by, as well as a few carrots outside for the reindeer.
These cookies were delicious and a part of the holidays in our household as a child and now that I have children of my own, I still bake these only in December.
Grandma’s Peppermint Cookies
2 cups sour cream
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons peppermint flavor drops
3 tablespoons baking ammonia
5 teaspoons of baking powder
8 1/2 cups of flour
- Dissolve 3 tablespoons of baking ammonia in ¼ cup boiling water
- Cream together sugar, butter, egg, add sour cream and mix in peppermint and ammonia and add in flour.
- Roll dough out into desired thickness (no more than ¼ inch) and use holiday cookie cutters to cut shapes.
- Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.
- After baking, let cool completely and decorate. J
Meet our guest blogger and Mini Me Yoga Ambassador, Nicole:
With a Bachelor of Social Work, I have been working in the field of mental health for the past 12 years. First working with adults living with acquired brain injury for 3 years as a rehabilitation counsellor and then moving to Calgary, to pursue a career as a children’s mental health coach for mental health promotion and prevention in schools.
This past year is when I found my calling as a Mini Me Yoga Ambassador. I found that it was strongly correlated with the mental health work that I am already doing in schools, but I could have the flexibility to create a life that I want, where I can work for myself, while still promoting childhood mental health and wellness in my community.
As a Mini Me Yoga ambassador in Calgary, Alberta Canada, I offer children’s yoga classes as well as the 2-hour workshop for grownups.
I continue to attend community events, build connections with those who are closely connected to children and strive to build capacity in adults to offer the Mini Me Yoga program in schools, daycares, pre-schools, nurseries and pretty much anywhere children can be found.
I look forward to connecting you with about Mini Me Yoga and building strong and caring communities through spreading joy and happiness to children in Western Canada.