In my toddler classes, based on the principles of Learn, Stretch & Play we move, swing, sit up and stretch which helps your toddler interpret sensory information, such as developing balance and controlling eye movement.
This course is taught over five weeks, and each session lasts approximately 45-60 minutes. I demonstrate all the strokes and the songs and then you would repeat them, this ensures that you can see and follow what is going on as there maybe distractions in the class. Soft stretching/yoga is also used to focus baby’s attention and to provide exercise. There is a wind down section at the end of each class.
Classes are informal, relaxed and flexible in structure. They are designed to meet all of baby’s developmental needs through touch, movement and music. They also aim to build your confidence whilst interacting with your child and to provide the opportunity to meet other parents.
These sessions will teach you a massage routine for your child and will also include fun movements and stretches. In a Learn, Stretch & Play class, we do not use oil to avoid spillages. Dry massage still gives the baby the tactile benefits of touch even though the massage is not directly on the skin.
Nearly all children enjoy music and being sung to. Music helps to aid communication, learning and memory, it provides a sense of rhythm and develop listening skills and helps parents and children to bond and have fun together. We use music in the massage section of Learn, Stretch & Play as it is the key to focusing the child’s attention, providing fun, entertainment and it signals that you and your child can relax in the group.
Each week a new aspect is introduced into the session to add interest for the older babies and toddlers. These aspects are related to massage and relaxation and include gentle safe stretches.
We end each class with a play session using a beautiful treasure basket which contains a collection of objects and items that will appeal to babies and children at their relevant stage of development and are chosen to expand and use their sensory skills.
I also provide you with a handout each week covering sensory play activities you can do with your child at home to help their development. Sensory Play is great fun for babies and fantastic for their development. The activities and toys you can use in sensory play are age dependent but all young children have the desire to touch and feel objects, experiment and explore.
Benefits of Massage for Older Babies and Toddlers
- Relieves tired aching muscles if they lead an active lifestyle and enjoy rushing around
- Particularly good for helping ease any discomfort from “growing pains” which can be recognised as aching arms and legs
- Helps to relax a toddler and combat the effects of any stress the child may feel
- Can help set the mood for bedtime if the child has difficulty settling for sleep
- Can be used to calm a child if they are having a tantrum which can be difficult for both parent and child
- It offers a perfect learning environment for parent and child. Studies have shown that children learn through touch very effectively
- Helps relax both parent and child and to provide the opportunity to learn songs, numbers and letters together
- By massaging a child the parent can teach him/her that gentleness, affection and communication are very important qualities in the parent/child relationship. By parents saving positive physical contact and listening to their child during massage they can build up a relationship of trust and love
- Massage has been shown to help combat bullying in schools and in societies where massage is part of daily life; studies have shown there are less social problems such as crime and aggression
Benefits of Yoga for Older Babies and Toddlers
- Improved digestion
- Positive body image and increased self –confidence
- Strengthens the immune system
- Better regulated emotions and sleep patterns
- Improved body-awareness and physical confidence
- Deepening of the parent and child bond
- An outlet for social interaction and self-expression
- Increased self-esteem
- Playful ways for little ones to relax in an increasingly stress-filled world
- Builds a fit and healthy lifestyle in a bid to counter childhood obesity