If your toddler’s routine is anything like mine, take advantage of reading time after lunch, before nap, by sprawling out on the floor with some digestive-supporting stretches.
This all started when our one-year old girl decided her free soul could no longer tolerate being cooped up on my lap, in the rocking chair, during story time. As a tired, busy mom, I really enjoyed relaxing and cuddling with our cutie while rocking and reading stories with her before her nap. However, during the transition from infancy to the self-separating time of toddlerhood, I found myself frustrated, pushed out of the comfy cathedra, sitting on the floor, and trying to keep our daughter engaged in reading.
You see, the transition between lunch to nap is the toughest of the day. I’m sure most moms and daycare providers will agree. It’s natural to feel worn out, and ready for a mental and physical break from your toddler, by the time afternoon napping rolls around. It can be hard to give it your all, to stay calm, and to adjust the routine to a busy body babe. A little hint, if you are checking out a child care facility for the first time, go between 11:45-12:45 and see how they handle the lunch to nap transition. If things seem smooth, you may have found yourself a winner. Anyways, my point is that children need guidance in learning how to settle themselves down to get ready for sleepy time and its up to us to do so.
As our daughter continued to test her independence, I reminded myself of her exciting world of exploration. I became more flexible with our naptime routine. If she needed to rock like a big girl on her own, or read a different book sitting in her plush Elmo chair next to me, I let her. Because she is learning, and her choices did nothing to hurt me, except, at first, my ego. Once I let go of that, I needed to find a way to enjoy story time again and model healthy, restorative habits to our girl.
Kids mirror what they see adults doing. This is true of our child, as she easily catches on to simple yoga positions when she sees me stretching.
After piecing this together in my mind, during afternoon transition, I decided to spread out on the rug by the wall, read stories, and simultaneously stretch. If our daughter wants to join me, sometimes, she does. She has the choice of curling up next to me, reading to her dolly, thumbing through her books, or whatever she really pleases as long as I see her winding down.
I bless my body and keep my cool during the transition to nap with reliance on restorative yoga poses. Here are three simple, digestive-supporting stretches, that I easily squeeze into our lovely, afternoon routine.