In this episode I’m joined by my very special guest Carol Powell, Carol runs Chatterminds which introduces mindfulness to children and teenagers aged 4-16, and their parents. Carol particularly specialises in working with children who have anxiety and helps them to navigate life using various mindfulness techniques.
My experience with this led me to make 'Sleep' and 'Rest' an integral part of our WiggleBums Classes. We have so many mums scoff when we tell them about the relaxation part of our classes. One mum literally spat her tea out all over me whilst saying "There is no way George will do that!"
Sleep is fundamental to our health and well-being and plays a massive part in how we behave and learn and grow as individuals. There is so much value placed on the 'Doing' of Life and so little on the 'Being'.
Each class, after we have explored and play and laugh we rest. We rest and digest all that juicy information our bodies and minds have taken in. It is an integral part of growing and one that is underplayed and overlooked as important. Time out to settle into one's self and just 'Be' away from the distractions of life, of screens and the next activity is super important. Within the pauses sits the potential. And so the time to cwtch up with our blankies is one of the cornerstones of a WiggleBums/Kids class.
Here's our 3 C's to a good nights sleep...
COSY: We all need to feel warm and cosy in our beds and in our rooms. Having a space that is clean and tidy and warm is paramount to feeling cosy, safe and contented. Sleeping in the 'right' direction for our inner sat nav is uber important too. Ever slept in a hotel or friends bed and just felt the 'wrong way round?' If your child isn't sleeping maybe the bed is in the wrong place for them. My son, when he did sleep would end up at the bottom of the bed and I was always putting him back the other way. He was actually telling me which way was better for him but I couldn't see it. Being cosy and lying in the right direction is super important to have a goods night sleep. As is turning off the stimulus, and creating a low light warm glow that literally holds you and will support you while you sleep. Bedding and mattresses for kids can be overlooked simply because life gets in the way and you're not sleeping in it every night so may not know. Check to see if their bed is super comfy and you would like to sleep within those sheets and on that bed yourself. If the answer is no, well...
CONSISTENCY: Children love routine and structure; they really do. It makes them feel safe to know what's coming. I often give two choices at bedtime; both of which I'm happy and want. "You can brush your teeth now and then story OR you can brush your teeth after the story?" Giving choices like this gives them a little bit of control over their lives and let's be fair, children don't have much do they. Being consistent in your bedtime rituals also means being good with your time management and giving your child fair warning and not dropping the bombshell in that panicky, snappy kind of way; helps. Our children will just pick up on and play out the underlying emotion that we are carrying. So give yourself the time you need and together with your child discuss and create a new bedtime routine conducive to sleep. It may take a few goes to get there, but you will.
CONNECTION: I remember it was the lack of time for me that use to drive the need for my son to sleep. I would feel like he was not sleeping on purpose. I was taking his behaviour personally when in actual fact he was sensing the lack of connection I had towards him. I had given and given and given and given and now I was emotionally snapping and needed a break and that break was teasing me on the horizon; if only he would sleep. It was this that he was picking up on. My lack of connection to myself and him hurt his emotional body and created a sense of fear and separation which was then driving the nighttime shenanigans that took place. I was lucky enough to have a great homoeopath that prescribed an amazing homoeopathic pill that just sorted out his fear of separation, and truth be told mine too. I also had a wonderful friend who pointed out I needed some time to connect back in with me each day. Didn't have to be much but just enough to feel filled up a bit. Then I could give that little bit more at bedtime and not need my time out in the eve like someone who was starving. My eldest son was a great teacher for me and now with my third child I am fully present and connected to myself and her at bedtimes. Pillow talk just before she nods off is usually when she tells me about her day and who did what to whom and why. It's a chance for her to offload and feel the love and safety I have for her. It's a necessary part of our day, an activity if you like that helps build her emotional intelligence and helps me stay connected with her and her needs. Once she's ready she rolls over and falls swiftly asleep; she sleeps like a log and so do I.
Over the 18 years as a mum, I've learnt that if I want a happy, chilled bedtime then I need to get happy and chilled myself. And when I'm not it is a true indicator that I haven't given myself the time to rest and renew that day. I've created a consistent routine that has plenty of time for me to do everything I need in a calm and loving and mindful way and she has the cosiest room and bed ever! I also always welcome her into my bed and snuggle her in helping her feel safe and loved anytime she wants. I love this time more than any other and knowing what I know now it really doesn't last for long; so very different 18 years on. I've learnt to throw away the manuals on how to raise kids and follow what is true for us, true for that child I'm with at the time, they are all different but they all need the same things in life; to feel safe and happy and loved; don't we all...
On a side note, if you have tried all of this and your likle boo is still not sleeping then it could be something physical such as adenoids or super sonic hearing. I say this as it turned out my son has Super Sonic hearing. He comes in at -15, a dog is -25 and the average human is +75 so, the slightest noise would wake him up! I kept the radio playing softly just outside his room to wash out any sharp noises that could happen in the night and now his a teen he wears ear plugs. If sleep is a real issue please consult your doctor and check these things out...
By Patricia Maddalena, Founder of WiggleBums/Kids and Integration Therapist at www.livingfree.eu
I really wanted to share something with you that I learnt on my WiggleBums training it has had a dramatic influence on my life this week.
So the story starts last week when my daughter stepped into her power and point blank refused to take a bath and wash her hair when I asked. We’d been camping she was all kinds of grubby and her hair was in one matted dreadlock at the back of her head! I thought, in my wisdom, that the best way to deal with this was to wash her hair and smother it with conditioner to remove the knots. She did not agree and let me know in no uncertain terms that she did not want to bath. I took a breath! All my heckles were up and I could feel my anger building. We were in a hurry I didn’t have time for an argument. I asked her what she needed so she would be ready to take a bath. She said she was hungry. “Hoorah” I thought, and immediately scrambled down stairs found a cracker and some hummus and brought it back to her. Her response of “I don’t want that!” sent me into orbit. Luckily my husband saw the escalation and stepped in so I could go to another room and breath deeply before she got it with both barrels.
I calmed down, she apologised and you would of thought that would have been the end of it. But no. Two or three days later she came into the office while I was working bringing me a wooden heart I’d made for her a couple of years earlier, that normally hung from her wardrobe door handle. I had written I love you on it. She handed it to me and said “ You should have this back I don’t deserve it.” I looked confused. She carried on; “I was really rude to you the other day so I don’t get to have this any more.” It was at that point I realised how much of an effect our argument had had on her.
She believed that her rudeness had stopped me loving her. I couldn’t believe it. In my adult mind the argument over bath time was nothing. A small blip in an otherwise pleasant day. To her it had removed my love and made her unworthy of it. This is where my training kicked in. I realised I needed to let her know in no uncertain terms that I loved her, every bit of her, even the bits that shouted at me and were grubby and had knots in their hair. I sat her down and tried to explain that just because I was cross it didn’t mean I didn’t love her I just wanted her to have a bath. I explained I loved EVERY bit of her and she responded with. You don’t love the bit that makes my room messy or the bit that got slime on the carpet or the bit that doesn’t like going to bed. She had a huge long list of bits I didn’t love. I felt heart broken that she felt like this. I needed her to see it from my point of view. So I tried again. How was I going to do this without agreeing she could have a messy bedroom and not wash her hair and stay up all night???
Then it came to me. Something I’d heard in my training. I do love all the bits of you I said. I just don’t always agree with the choices you make. We all make choices all the time and sometimes your choices and my choices are different but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you. With that she seemed satisfied. Retrieved her heart and wondered off singing a greatest showman tune. Later that day she tested me again. As she lay on the floor and refused to get up to go and clean her teeth she asked; “what about this bit do you love this bit?’ I love you I replied just not digging the dirty teeth choice. She smiled got up and went and brushed her teeth. Hopefully I’ve redeemed myself a bit and helped her to understand me a bit better.
Love Tracy WiggleBums/Kids Monmouth x
I use to feel the social pressure of the perceived judgement of other parents and would demand a sorry from my child. I remember trying to extract a sorry from my 18month old when he took a tractor from another boy, the panic rose inside and I madly found myself apologising to the other mum. I'm so glad I've moved away from this.
Children's minds are not developed enough to give an apology on demand. They haven't had time to work out what it is they have done, let alone FEEL sorry for it.
I've dropped trying to please societies pressure and I've moved towards my children 'FEELING' what's happened first; this is the gift. In each altercation, there is an opportunity. An opportunity to build emotional intelligence, to grow empathy.
My children, even my youngest at 18 months, given the time and patience would FEEL the others pain. I could see it drop into their little bodies. The eyes would change, the body, the voice and energy, there was concern and empathy in their body and THAT is the apology. My little girl would toddle over and smooth her brothers face, or bring him a toy, THAT is the apology; not that 5 letter word that is thrown at a situation without thought or feeling just because its a done thing or to get us off the hook.
We have an opportunity to grow the emotional intelligence and enhance empathy in all of our children. Lets breath and take the time needed, without blame and judgement and teach our children probably one of the biggest life skills there is, to feel another's pain. In this way, it acts as the preventative tool. As they get older they already know the consequence of actions and it is this that stops them from bullying or being mean and not the fear of being slapped or isolated from the rest or shouted at.
We have an opportunity, so take it, even if it is uncomfortable at first when all are looking at you.
So here are the four steps to true Resolution
1) Make sure the injured or hurt child is alright, the broken toy or situation is safe..
2) Be gentle, describe what's just happened to your child, show them the pain and sadness the other is in or you are in. Get them to look at the situation and ask them how this makes them feel and where they feel this in their body; without the need for a direct answer as such. Older children can put it into words but with younger children, you'll have to help them name the feelings
3) Ask them what can they do to help their friend right now. What they can do to help the situation. Trust your child will feel the others pain and their own. They will 'feel' the sorry and affirm this in them noticing the 'sorry' when it comes.
4) Be big enough to drop it and not hang on to it and welcome the child back in with a clean slate. Don't refer back to it with blame and accusation rather refer back to it with the resolution in mind and how well your child worked through it and resolved it.
Just last week I stepped onto the cancer conveyor belt and faced the possibility of my own death. Staring straight into the eyes of one's own mortality was probably the hardest thing I have ever faced. It was the most traumatic five days of my life.
I tumbled off the cancer conveyor belt on Monday with an absolute all clear, I was to be here, I was getting to stay, my life was back on! So many aren't this lucky.
In those five days I rolled out the worse case scenario and what I would need to do in order for my family to not only survive this but to thrive.
I created a 'To Do' List which included writing the manual 'How To Run The Maddalena-Potter Home' for Rob. Details of how Christmass and Birthdays are run, down to food likes and dislikes, timetables and school runs.
Booking them all into a grief counsellor for two years so they could all get the support they would need.
Finding and hiring someone that could take on my role and raise Morgy for me; she's 4 and whilst Dadda is the Biz she would need her Mamma type cuddles and love.
I started the list of videos I would need to film, Happy Birthday ones throughout the ages to vids about changing bodies, and periods, and sex and love and all those chats I wouldn't get to have.
Setting up three email accounts for my children and popping the vids in there along with special pics and info for each child so they could access me, my knowledge and mum wisdom whenever they needed a mum hit.
Only after I had planned how I could make it easier for them, (if that was even possible) did I look at what I could do to survive. I devoured several books and quickly decided to ditch the dairy and processed and to start really viewing food as my medicine.
The realisation that we will all have to leave here at some point is a massive slap in the chops. Yes, we all know it but this kind of thing brings it well and truly home!
And then on day 4 I popped. It all just fell away, the fear and the panic and the 'To Do' Lists and the mental load I didn't even know I had been carrying around with me, just fell away. I felt clear and calm and really really grateful that I was on the cancer conveyor belt and getting this sorted.
Those five days made me really see my family like I had never seen them before. I could see through the moods and the arguments and the day to dayness of life and really really see them, it put everything into perspective.
Life is short, so very very short and right now I feel so very very alive like I've been given a second chance.
Everything seems to be in 'High Definition', Morgy's laugh, Lohkii's twinkle in his bright blue mischevious eyes, Jai recounting his latest scooter trick and Rob's gentle but solid touch; I'm soaking up every drop.
I am their everything, their anchor, their whole lives and I feel so very blessed and honoured to have this life. I don't know where I was before, I wasn't 'here' that's for sure. Here is so very 'HERE' if you know what I mean?
So keep checking those bossoms ladies, my signal was the pain, no lumps that I could feel, no redness or weird indentations, just pain. They found the lump using an ultrasound scan, luckily the biopsy came back all clear. So check your breasts and if you have any concerns go to the Doc, your life depends on it and your families will thank you for it.
Love and Light, Trish x
This is a conversation I had with one of our WiggleBums Teachers when we were having our monthly
1-2-1 business coaching session. We were discussing the training and how to convey the enormity of material we have here at WB's & how best to share that with the world.
It's layer upon layer of psychological, physiological & spiritualogical (yeah that's not a word lol) expertise, that the Teaching Faculty brings to the WB's table. We have over 50 years worth of knowledge, insight and wisdom when you put us all together! All succinctly shared over the course of 8 full days training and 3 months of practice classes, self-study and assignments. As well as continuing business coaching, personal self-development and CPD's so our Teachers have the confidence, self-esteem & love for themselves and what they do. This just shines in all of their classes, whether they take them into School, Nursery's, Independant Classes or B'day Parties.
They are true leaders in their field, leading by example in more ways than one!
All of our Teachers say one thing, "It's been life-changing".
And for me personally, every time I run a WiggleBums/Kids Training my perspective and perception expands, my heart grows and my connection to 'WHY' my sister and I do what we do deepens!
The level of self-inquiry that happens on each training transforms each and everyone of us.
We are the change we've been waiting for and by sharing our skills and information with each family that comes to our mats we can have a huge positive impact within our communities for many years to come.
This is how we create the change we all want to see & it starts with each and everyone of us. From changing the language we use, the way that we speak, how we behave with ourselves and our children, deepening the connection with self.
We intend to bring our knowledge and awareness, our love and our light to every city, town, village, school and nursery and we need YOU!
For more information on how you can create a community hub for change, and become a WiggleBums/Kids Teacher taking this life changing yet fun classes of yoga and mindfulness into schools, nursery's and independant classes then please, click here:
When we parent from the heart and not from our past programming, we help to form, create and guide a child into being the best they can be.
When a child is parented through connection and not control, we see a child who is aligned with themselves, confident, happy and alright with the big feelings and situations they handle day to day.
Because, they have someone who has their back, someone who doesn't shame and blame them for being human and not having the skills yet to navigate the tricky stuff.
They can trust the process and relish being seen and heard and respected and guided through 'it' with love.
They grow with a heightened emotional intelligence, an awareness that most adults only dream of, they grow 'whole' with a true sense of who they are and their place in this world.
The work we are doing, when it comes to conscious parenting is super important and is helping co-create the kind of parents, children and community we all want to be and live in.
It starts from our own kitchen table.
When we parent through the shame, blame and punishment game we create a separation in the child, the impact of which can be felt for years and years to come! It can be really rather dismal and have huge detrimental effects.
There are many tools and books and information out there to help establish connected Parenting skills that can help us all day to day. As well as processes that can help us come to terms with our own childhood so we can stop passing it on to our kids.
Remember we only ever use the skills we have in the moment, so don't beat yourself up about the past and use any guilt as a signal that changes need to be made and start putting it out there for the conscious love and help that you need.
To stay connected rather than spiralling our of control try this:
C . A . L . M
Connect - Connect back in with yourself. Soften your energy, soften your face, see them as the struggling little human they are. Connect with them, look them in the eyes, firmly but gently touch their body giving them a spacial sense of safety, bringing them back into their body.
If they're not ready for touch remind them that you are here and will always be here for them, no matter what.
And then stay with them.
Awareness - Help them come out of their BIG feelings by asking them to:
Feel their feet on the ground - Look around - what can you see - pick their favourite colours to find and look at.
Listen - What can you hear?
Move - Shake it out, move it through the body, dance, wiggle, giggle, play punch a pillow.
Then move from the space into another space that is a different space a calmer, cosy, safe space.
Physically change your environment.
Remember, we are not our behaviour and neither are our children.
For more information on how you can make change:
Learning the ABC's changed our family's life.
This time last year I had a revelation. It was, in the big scheme of things, a pretty mini revelation, but to me, it proved something that I had suspected for a while. I was working as a Marketing Manager for a mental health charity and had become used to hearing stories from our service users of how practising yoga or meditation had made a real difference to their mental health. In fact, after going on a few staff training workshops and remembering how much I enjoyed yoga, singing and dance, I rejoined a choir, was practicing yoga and was starting to really feel the benefits of spending time doing things that made me happy. I had started to talk to my kids about my job and the people that I had met through it, and about the different things people did to feel calm and in more control of their emotions.
Which was why when my daughter started to scream at her little brother for standing on her drawing, I immediately went into my 'don't worry, it's ok, take a deep breath' spiel. Normally this resulted in her screaming 'NO!' at me
You see, with those words, "don't worry, it's ok" I was simply brushing her massive feelings under the carpet. Instead, I acknowledge her and how she was feeling by saying, "I can see you're feeling really cross right now and I'm not surprised. It's a beautiful drawing, nobody ought to stand on it, but look it's not damaged and he didn't do it on purpose. Remember your breath." I then gave her all of my attention and consciously connected with her, and she yelled,
'I am SO cross. I hate him! I'm taking a deep breath...' and then she actually did take a deep breath, and then another and another.
After 30 seconds or so she looked over at us both and said 'I'm ok now. I was so cross. I'm going outside on the trampoline now.' And off she went to bounce in the sunshine."
Here's the ABC's broken down:
Step 1: Acknowledge where your child is emotionally, by naming the feeling. This validates them and makes them feel listened to and heard.
Step 2: Breathe with them. Deep strong breaths in through the nose and long slow breaths out through their mouths will settle the emotions bringing about a feeling of Calm.
Step 3: Connect with them. Look them in their eyes, soften your face and hold them in your heart, remembering they're little and are simply having a hard time.
Following the A B C's will help your child move through difficult feelings and situations quickly and easily. I use it every day, it's changed our lives.
I was astonished that she had been able to calm herself down without me was a revelation. That she had felt that something we had talked about helping other people, could help her and she had given it a go without prompting was a revelation. A mini revelation, but an important revelation.
At work, I had written an article about the importance of mental health literacy, and here it was in action with my daughter. That she could identify her emotions and think of a way to help herself through that feeling was a big step to her realising that she was in charge of her body and the way that she felt. After meltdowns, tantrums and grumps, with me feeling as though I was always dealing with them the wrong way, she was finding her own style of dealing with big emotions.
A year on I have now trained as a yoga teacher for pre-school kids. At Wigglebums our sessions incorporate story telling, singing, dancing and sensory play into our yoga and the emphasis is on fun. Our classes are all about strengthening communication and learning, as well as confidence, and of course healthy bodies and minds. We realise how important it is to talk about our emotions and to talk about our children's emotions. Helping children to regulate their emotions doesn't necessarily happen overnight. Science tells us that parts of the human brain critical to handling emotions aren't fully developed until we're way into our twenties, but we can take little steps to help our children when they're young to recognise their feelings. Wigglebums combines movement with mindfulness - both fantastic tools for relaxing and feeling in control of your emotions.
Wigglebums sessions are a really great way to bond, reconnect and learn more about each other and also other families in the community. Adults and children can play together, be silly together and unleash their inner animal faces! Children love being physically close to their parents and especially climbing on them - Wigglebums sessions often involve a lot of peeking through a grown ups legs or crawling over their backs!
Practicing yoga with your child can lead to a feeling of being united, energised, rejuvenated and balanced in body and mind. It also lays really good foundations for good mental health well-being in later life. If you are interested in attending a class or just finding out a little bit more about what we do have a look at https://www.wigglebums.uk or https://www.lushtums.co.uk/wigglebums/
By Jo Yates - WiggleBums & WiggleKidz Teacher