Yes, You Can Meditate With a Small Human

As far as I’m concerned, meditation is one of the most important life skills I can teach my son. Right up there with using the toilet and eating healthy food and, you know, being a good human, learning how to stop, breathe and just chill the hell out is an essential life skill in this day and age. Just ask Jerry Seinfeld. Oprah Winfrey. Lena Dunham. The late Steve Jobs. All extremely successful people who… you guessed it… regularly meditate.

But let’s be frank. Finding the time to sit in silence is challenging at the best of times; throw a one-year-old into the picture and it may, for some, seem completely impossible or just a waste of time. But hear me out.

YazandArlo

 

Countless studies have shown that meditation doesn’t just reduce stress on the surface, it physically changes your brain too. How? Meditation increases the thickness of your prefrontal cortex – the area linked to decision making, planning and even your personality – making it stronger and potentially more resilient to change, stress and today’s hectic, technology-driven lifestyle. Begging the question, who wouldn’t want to meditate?

So how do you get a toddler to sit still and tune in? You don’t. That’s impossible. Instead, like with all things baby related, you expose them to different experiences of the same outcome over time. Here’s an example: when Arlo was a newborn, rather than sit in front of the TV at night for his feeds I’d remain in our dimly lit room and play guided meditations. My thought process was that it’s the middle of the night and I don’t want to stimulate him (or me) with the TV, so this was an incredible way for us both to get close and remain in a nice sleepy state, while also being entertained.

Cut to now, when things are slightly more (ahem) busy and I’ve had to adapt to the situation. Now, when he’s eating dinner I dim the lights and play relaxation music, giving him cues that it’s quiet time. There’s no TV or electronic devices, just time to sit and eat and enjoy in a really calm, relaxing setting. We play and have fun, but there’s no external distractions. And he loves it. He loves that we’re so present with him and that he can slowly (so slowly!) eat his dinner without feeling rushed or sensing any stress.

Or, when he’s just having a crazy manic day, I stop everything, pick him up and put on a guided meditation. I hold him and gently sway, breathing deeply into his ear and reassuring him that it’s okay to be expressive and frustrated, and to just breathe it out. To me, this seems completely normal. I see my job as Arlo’s mum to remain as calm as possible when he becomes overwhelmed, I’ve had more practice than he has, and heck, life is overwhelming. It will continue to be. But it’s how you learn to cope with the craziness that sets you apart.

 

Tell me Happies…

Am I crazy?
Do you meditate?
Do you want, or more importantly, need to?

 

Stay Happy,

Yaz x

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9 comments

  1. Melissa · August 1, 2014

    YES! I totally have to meditate – I am constantly stressed and anxious and am terrified about how this is impacting on my young children. My problem is that I find meditating extremely difficult. I can’t get in that zone. I find myself constantly thinking about the article I should be writing/washing/ironing/cleaning I should be doing in that time. I know it’s about making time for yourself, but I feel like I always have a mountain on my shoulders and much of it is self-inflicted. Ive heard great things about Transcendental Meditation, but its just so expensive to learn (about $1500).I will try to persist though!
    LOVE your blog, it always inspires me.

  2. Victoria · August 1, 2014

    Meditation is the best medicine! Even if I can steel 15 minutes a day! I can usually sneak in a good 30 mins though. Have been a bit too selfish to start including my little one but you have inspired me.

  3. Anonymous · August 1, 2014

    You are amazing. I love your inspiration, that you are providing your child and the rest of us mummy’s trying to find the balance in life with young bubbas… Arlo is one lucky lad.

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  5. Bec · August 9, 2014

    Wow, you’re a pretty ace mum! My little one just turned 4 months and is going through a growth spurt and fussy period so I’m finding it a bit tricky to tune into his needs. I might sign up for a few mum & bub yoga and meditation classes. Would love to read your experience with developing healthy sleep and nap habits for Arlo.

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  7. Jayne · October 14, 2014

    Hi Yaz, a little off subject but can I ask, what approach do you take with regards to giving Arlo cow’s milk? My little one has just turned one and the ‘norm’ would now be for me to start weaning her on to it. Personally I don’t consume a lot of dairy and am trying to source my little girls calcium in other ways. She has been used to a coupe of drinks of milk a day up until this point though so I need a good and healthy alternative! Thanks Yaz x

  8. Yaz Trollope · October 16, 2014

    Hi Jayne, yes of course. We don’t give Arlo too much cow’s milk at all, but we didn’t want to eliminate it completely so what we do is alternate his milks as much as possible. So, we give him a selection of NON HOMOGENISED, organic, full cream cow’s milk, as well as homemade almond milk, rice milk, oat milk and goat’s milk. I think varying it as much is possible is the key. We don’t give Arlo that much milk in a bottle though, instead we aim to provide him with as much nutritious real food as possible 3 times a day (so very little snacking) and find that works for him as he’s hungry when he sits down and really eats A LOT (and isn’t picky at all). Sometimes if I feel like he’s having a growth spurt or needs a little more after dinner I’ll make him a bottle before bed, but definitely not everyday. Water is the only drink he has unless it’s a green smoothie in the morning. In terms of calcium, we give him LOTS of nuts, seeds and leafy greens in his morning muesli and smoothie. We also include sea vegetables in his diet as well as tahini and kefir, which is also a probiotic and like a natural antibiotic. I hope that helps. When I find a spare moment I will do a whole blog post on ideas if you like, it’s finding the time that’s challenging 🙂 xx

    • Anonymous · October 17, 2014

      Ah fantastic, that really does help and you’ve given me some great pointers. A blog post would be brilliant although I totally understand the time constraints! Thanks so much Yaz xx

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