Finding time to exercise and maintain a healthy wellness practice with young children to care for is a challenge I have struggled with consistently. Routines are hard to establish and harder to keep when sleep is interrupted first by baby feedings, and then by nighttime potty training, and the attention span of a three-year old is no better than a 1L on their first introduction to Civil Procedure. I have found, however, that getting kids excited about exercise and activity makes it much easier to maintain some level of activity as a parent, and incorporates bonding time in a healthy way.
I’ve found over time, as my children have grown (my oldest is now 7), and expanded (I now have 3), incorporating them into a wellness routine requires meeting them on their level, introducing activities that they can approach, and importantly, accomplish. This is made much easier by the wealth of programming across media and social media platforms.
I had started a routine yoga practice two years ago, and felt immediate benefits – looser joints, freer movements, a calmer perspective. But if I was on my own with the kids, I struggled to maintain the routine. Each was interested in watching me to yoga, and trying a few of the poses, but overall they were easily distracted when a challenging pose presented, or not captivated by the slow movements and transitions of the practices I could approach. Then my wife introduced us to Cosmic Kids Yoga.
Available for free on Youtube, Cosmic Kids Yoga introduces children to yoga through a series of animal and character stories, bright colors, energetic stretching, and inviting options across desired activity levels all of which allow kids to connect with wellness in an approachable setting. You can follow Popcorn the dolphin on an undersea adventure with poses incorporating the marine setting, or you can stretch and pose like a dinosaur in Dinosaur Poses. Cosmic Kids Yoga isn’t perfect, at least for adults. It moves faster than I would like for my stretches and is loud, but its effect at transitioning kids from the couch to the mat, and creating a space to introduce them to the benefits of a routine wellness practice are invaluable. Plus there are enough different sessions that you could do one every day for a month without needing to recycle storylines, each with a different energy level and time. Now my kids and I do this to close out a day. I get to keep up some level of activity and incorporate stretching into my routine. I get to laugh and wonder with my kids as they move through the poses inspired by rich storytelling. And if we time it right, I get to burn out their energy and introduce relaxation and calmness right before bedtime!
Author: Ryan Hoyle