By Sue Heron Training Co-ordinator Tatty Bumpkin and Paediatric Physiotherapist
In this blog I describe a Baby Bumpkin Yoga activity and outline some of the benefits for both you and your baby so you can enjoy doing the activity at home. This week's yoga activity is Owl.
Baby Bumpkin's Owl Yoga Activity
Owl Pose for Younger Babies
|Take your arms out to the side to fly as owls!|
N.B. Safety First. Remember:
- When you are doing the poses with your baby, never force the movements and keep looking at your baby to make sure they are comfortable. If you feel any resistance, or your baby becomes unsettled, do stop. Once your baby has settled, gently try the pose again, perhaps making clicking sounds or using a toy to distract them. If your baby remains unsettled, do not persist with the pose.
- Young babies are not able to fully straighten their elbows or take their arms right up over their head so only move your baby’s arms within their comfortable range of movement.
- Settle your baby on the floor in front of you.
- Keeping good eye contact with your baby, encourage them to grasp your fingers with each hand, this will make your baby feel more ‘in control’ of the movement and boost their self–confidence.
- Slowly take your baby’s arms out to the side as far as they will easily go and move them gently up and down, like an owl flapping their wings.
- As you do the movements sing or talk to your baby or make ‘twit twoo’ owl sounds i.e. say “1, 2, 3, twit twoo!”
- At about 2 months your baby will be stretching out their shoulder muscle by doing ‘windmill’ movement with their arms
- At about 4 months they may be able to straighten their elbows to just beyond 90 degrees – a right angle
- At about 5 months they will be able to stretch out their elbows a little further as they start to play with their feet. Also, at about 5 months of age, your baby may be able to move their arms up towards their head by themselves.
Owl pose for Older Babies
This adaptation of owl pose is ideal if your baby is able to sit confidently with only little support. Do not try to do this pose with your baby if they still need lots of support to sit.
- Find a comfortable place to sit with your baby, either invite them to sit on the floor in front of you or be on your lap, your baby can then lean back against you if they need to for added support.
- Gently encourage your baby to open their arms wide and then move them up and down.
- Remember to: encourage your baby to hold your fingers rather than you holding their hands or wrists and prepare them for the movement by saying “1, 2, 3, twit twoo!”
Why Owl Pose is Good for Both You and Your BabyAs you do owl pose with your baby in either lying or sitting they will be:
1. Gently stretching their shoulder, chest and back muscles
Because owl pose stretches these muscles it is a great pose to do with your baby after they have been sitting in their buggy or high chair for a while – remember muscles need movement to grow! But also remember never to force the movement.
2. Developing their communication skills and building their relationship with you
As you lean over your baby to do owl pose with them, make sure they are looking at you. Then, as you do the actions, talk to your baby, smile at them and do ‘twit twoo’ owl hoots! Remember to give your baby time to react to your sounds and gestures i.e. wait for their gurgles and smiles before you carry on. This is the start of early communication.
3. Promoting their self- confidence and self- awareness
As you do owl pose with your baby remember to guide them to grasp your hand rather than you holding their hands or wrists. This may seem like a tiny thing but if your baby is holding your hand they will be feeling far more in control and hence will start to understand that their actions can actually have an effect on others – the start of self-awareness and confidence.
4. Boosting their independence and thinking skills
After you have done owl pose a few times with your baby, see if they can predict the movement. Encourage this by: waiting and giving your baby a bit of time to see if they can begin the movement themselves and by giving them a cue i.e. say “1, 2, 3, twit twoo!” so that your baby knows what is going to happen. You might feel that during the movement your baby is taking over and leading the movement – this is great!
5. Developing their postural control skills
If your baby is older and is doing owl pose with you in sitting they will be using their ‘postural control system’ to try and keep their body still and upright whilst in the sitting position.
A word on Our ‘Postural Control System’
- Postural control is a complex process which allows us to keep and move our bodies up against gravity - whether we are: pushing up on our hands whilst we are lying down, sitting up straight or indeed standing up and moving.
- Our postural control ensures that we keep control of our bodies and protect them whilst we are moving and doing things i.e. we might put our feet wider apart and stiffen our bodies to keep our balance on a rocking boat or we might automatically put out our hand to ‘save’ ourselves if we trip over.
- Between the ages of 0 -7 years your baby, toddler and young child will slowly develop and refine their ‘postural control system’.
- Our postural control develops from our head downwards and from our middles out to our limbs it results from the maturation of our nervous system, our muscles and our skeleton. Your baby might be able to control their head in lying and sitting but may be working on keeping their body stable in the sitting position i.e.
- At 3 months your baby may be able to hold their head up in sitting but will need support around their chest
- By the time they are 4 months old they may only need support around their lower back
- At 5 months they may be propping themselves up in sitting using their hands and be trying to sit by themselves for a second or two.
- If your baby develops their postural control system well, in their early years, this will mean they:
- Have a good base for developing their hand skills
- Will be able to sit at a desk to concentrate without becoming too uncomfortable or tired.
- So, when you do owl pose with your baby in the sitting position, think about your hand position. Do you need to support your baby round their chest or do they only need support at their lower back?
- Remember your baby will benefit from having the opportunity to develop their postural control in sitting with you – but do not push your baby to do movements that they are not ready for. Always look at, listen to and feel your baby as you do the movements. If they are looking worried, making uneasy sounds or stiffening their body this may mean they need more support to enjoy the movement.
Our Baby Bumpkin Sessions – NationwideFind a Class at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/classes/find-class.html
For you and your baby to gain the full benefit of all the Baby Bumpkin Yoga and multi-sensory activities, why not attend your local Baby Bumpkin session.
Because each Baby Bumpkin adventure is carefully linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) the sessions not only enhance your baby’s physical skills they also develop your baby’s early communication, social and thinking skills.
Our qualified Baby Bumpkin Teachers are fully trained in aspects of baby development and Baby Yoga and are kept fully up-to-date by our professional team of paediatric physiotherapists, Yoga teachers and musicians.
The Baby Bumpkin Adventure this WeekIf you are taking your baby to a Baby Bumpkin class this week you will go on an adventure with Baby Bumpkin to visit the owl family. Your baby will have a chance to:
1. Develop their physical skills as they do owl and tree poses with you.
2. Progress their early communication skills and enhance their bond with you as play as spiders to the Tatty Bumpkin spider song.
|In the story the little spiders will help the baby owl|
3. Progress their early visual and thinking skills as they play with the owl props.
4. Have fun with others and develop their social skills as they fly as owls to a Tatty Bumpkin instrumental track!
|Flying as owls!|
Work for YourselfOr, maybe, you are thinking of a new career, which gives you:
- The opportunity to work with kids
- A great sense of job satisfaction and
- Flexible working to fit around your own family?