Imitation is Flattery
March 10, 2022
"Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate" ~Anonymous
I've been practicing yoga for many years; it's been a great stress release for me as well as time that I know is dedicated to me. I continued practicing prenatally, and did mommy and me classes with my daughter after she was born. It took a bit of time to find my independent practice again, from both a time perspective as well as making sure I had the strength for it.
When I began teaching kids yoga classes, which have been adult/child based, it was great having my daughter there. First, based on her developmental abilities, I was able to judge what was appropriate for the age groups, in addition to what I learned during training. Second, I was able to model some of the poses with her, without pretending I had a baby or using a stuffed animal! As she grew older, around 18-20 months, our practice together shifted. From hearing the songs during class and kid playlists during our frequent dance parties, she learned the songs and poses. From coming to class with me, she knew the routines and it became predictable to her. When I bring her to class with me, she becomes a teacher's helper doing the flows with me and getting props when I ask.
At home, she tries to join in my own yoga practice as well. I take classes virtually, through live or recorded videos. Again, what started as her just watching the computer turned into her trying to do the poses with me (which then requires me to do the pose and be extra stable because I'm supporting her too!)
It is adorable to watch her become a little yogi and gives me a lot of time to practice kids yoga routines because the playlist is frequently requested (or goga as it's affectionately called). It also makes me stop and think how I'm laying the groundwork for her to learn about yoga and all its benefits that she will hopefully use throughout her life. I try really hard to remain calm and take deep breaths with her during moments of frustration (#toddlerlife). I have fun dancing and being silly with her because we can. And I hope that as she continues to grow and practice, we can have more conversations about mindfulness, ways to relax, what to do when we feel different emotions, and taking time for yourself.
It's also a reminder to remember, kids are always watching. Trusted adults are their favorite people and they want to do everything they are. So remember, when your child is following you around and imitating your look and behavior, they are watching and taking it all in. Take a moment to think about what you really want to model for them and explain what you are doing and why. And appreciate the imitation because it is an act of true love.