Updated: March 28, 2023
By Ana Garcia, contributing writer
You may already know how yoga can benefit adults and teens. In fact, yoga and meditation has been proven to help you sleep better, relieve stress and improve focus.
At a time when stress levels are high, there are plenty of ways mindfulness and yoga can also help you in your parenting journey – which doesn’t come with a manual! The sooner you introduce your children to physical activities, the better off they’ll be as hopefully they will carry these healthy habits into their adult lives.
But what about the benefits of yoga for toddlers and babies? Is yoga for toddlers a real thing? Yes it is!
Indeed, yoga for toddlers is growing in popularity, and many daycares and preschools are adding mindfulness to their daily schedules.
Here are three physical benefits of yoga and mindfulness for babies and toddlers:
1. Yoga helps parents and infants bond
The first several months in the life of your baby are crucial to developing a deep, healthy, and loving relationship. Indeed, bonding with babies can help them become more confident children. Yoga, in turn, gives parents and babies a great way to connect and bond.
2. Yoga helps parents become more attuned with their baby’s needs
Let’s face it: being a parent is hard! Having a new baby adds an extra layer of difficulty, even if you have kids already. Yoga can help you understand your child a little bit better, and predict reactions based on specific stimuli.
Plus, it’s important to take an active and intentional role in your baby’s growth and development. There’s no such thing as being too young for mindfulness. Toddlers can benefit greatly from the mental health break that comes with meditation, and if children start practicing mindfulness at a very young age, they may become lifelong meditators!
3. Yoga can promote the development of motor skills
There’s still not enough research regarding the benefits of yoga practice for babies and toddlers, but guiding your little one through movement can actually stimulate nerve and muscle development, just like most physical activities.
Yoga poses where babies and toddlers are on their tummies can strengthen the neck and the entire upper body (cobra done safely is a great pose to try!) Also, babies who do yoga may have an easier time learning how to sit up, crawl and eventually walk. Most importantly, helping your toddler practice slow and controlled poses can give them an early sense of confidence that will aid them throughout life, especially during the teenage years, when social anxiety can kick into high gear.
Babies as young as six weeks old can engage in some basic yoga poses, however, the younger the child is, the slower the movements should be. It’s also important that you are in total control of each pose, taking special protective measures with the head. Depending on the age of your baby, there might be some soft craneal tissue in development, and you must be careful with that!
Look out for preventable risks
Some babies are born with either hypermobile joints or tight joints. So, if you engage your child’s body in these poses too rigorously, this can lead to injury. It’s best to avoid extreme extensions where limbs can be compromised. Go at a moderated pace, and keep the yoga practice to under 20 minutes. And, be sure to check with your pediatrician if you have any health concerns about your baby or toddler’s safe range of motion.
It’s never too early to Experience the benefits of yoga for toddlers and babies
As we previously stated, the beneficial side of practicing mindful meditation can help your kids’ mental health from a very young age.
As they find joy and solace in yoga, they’ll have a healthy outlet to express themselves and calm their inner selves while they grow up. Plus, meditation – along with physical activity – can improve their strength, balance, and focus. Finally, remind yourself that of yoga can calm anxiety, even for the little ones!
Pretzel Kids encourages you to try toddler and baby yoga at least once. Remember: You can’t put a price on your baby’s health, and the benefits of kids yoga are countless.
So, are you ready to spend some time stretching and bonding with your little one? If you need more guidance or want to find a skilled Pretzel Kids yoga instructor near you, give us a holler! Better yet, learn to teach kids yoga yourself!
Ana Garcia is a contributing writer for Pretzel Kids.