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September signals the start of a new school year and there is no denying it feels different this time around, with many children having not been in full time school or childcare since March. And while there may be frantic preparation underway, we aren’t returning to the normal we knew pre-Covid, with staggered timetables, learning bubble groups and rules for what they can and can’t take to school now.
We know... a lot to get your head around! And all of this newness can affect even the most adaptable of children. Team Totter + Tumble are gearing up for this new school year with our own children and we wanted to share how we are getting mindful with our minis and keeping the good energy flowing for the whole family.
Breathwork and stretching
Whether you are a yogi or not, you and your family can benefit from the stillness that comes from focused breathing and stretching, not to mention a Totter + Tumble playmat makes a great base for it if you have one! Choose a time when your little ones aren’t hyped up or overtired and get them to focus on taking beautiful, big breaths in and then exhaling out through their mouths. For preschoolers, a breathing buddy makes breathwork playful, watching their soft toys moving in sync with their breaths. For mini movers, introduce them to story-led stretches with Cosmic Kids or check out our WobbelYoga video, both help with physical flexibility and offer psychological benefits too.
Unwinding with art
Getting hands on and arty is an ideal way to stimulate the senses and create good vibes at the same time, alleviating worries and stresses. One of our favourite at-home art activities for our children is pasta threading on string, which harnesses their concentration and fine motor skills, while they make fun jewellery too! If you are prepared, you can even paint the pasta beforehand. For giggles guaranteed, all get down on the floor and try drawing pictures using your feet or the wrong hand or instead get out the modelling clay or make your own play dough - here’s our favourite, easy recipe. Kneading and manipulating the putty through hands does wonders for relieving any pent up stress - like a classic stress ball would.
Engaging the imagination
Getting kids exploring their imaginations through thoughtful play is perfect for focusing their busy minds. During this time of transition, they may be less inclined to pretend play by themselves, so set up scenes for them to get stuck into, from construction challenges with building blocks or small world scenes with train tracks or roads. Set aside some time to engage in playing with your little ones as well, once school is back in full swing, you’ll wish you had! Focused playtime helps to build positive self-esteem, reduces anxiety and allows the exploration of feelings. Not to mention it’s loads of fun as well!
Calmness and cuddles
The love hormone Oxytocin works wonders for lifting negative emotions, so now is as perfect time as any to build a comfy cushion fort with your kids and get plenty of cuddles in! If the weather is fine, you can even take the den outside and enjoy laying still together and watching the clouds pass overhead or listening intently to what sounds you can identify birds, trains, airplanes? During the calmness and cuddles, why not introduce a book to read and discuss together. Our favourites for this back to school season are Rochelle Humes’ The Mega Magic Teacher Swap and Starting School by Allan and Janet Ahlberg, which helps children understand their impending changes by seeing the characters deal with them first.
To our Totter + Tumblers, big and small, we are sending our best wishes to you. Whatever your new term looks like, good luck!