Tag Archives: connection

Eating Together Improves Our Children’s WellBeing

The Benefits of Eating Together

The knock on effect of eating together as a family,  isn’t just that kids usually eat more healthily, studies have found there’s a whole host of other benefits including reduced stress, good mental health, improved grades, saving money, better family relationships and greater happiness.

This isn’t a ‘How To’ blog it’s a ‘How I‘ and what has worked for us, hope you enjoy our ‘Shamba’ below too!

What’s It Like Eating Together?

Do you enjoy mealtimes together as a family, do you have time to sit together, are you happy with the food choices you make and feel you have good variety and balance, is eating with your kids a nice experience or a chore?

What About The Fussy Eaters?

All kids go through stages of ‘fussing’ over food and it’s during these times that we may unintentionally reinforce it, so they end up with longer term picky eating habits. Eating together is more likely to encourage children to explore food more and try things out,  especially when they see us modelling how to.

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I Don’t Like Potato

I’ve been teaching for 20 years and during lunch-breaks have seen many school kids pushing their food around their plate.  They find it hard to control their cutlery and can’t wait to get away from the table and nor can the lunchtime staff, who pace around with their cloths, waiting for the next year groups to take their places on the benches.

In some schools, staff do eat with the children,  placing a high priority on the importance of eating together, modelling how to,  communicating deeply and really engaging with one other.

How can we Create Autonomous Happy Eaters?

What if we looked for more opportunities to give autonomy to our children? By allowing our child more choice we give them some space to be and to take ownership of their eating.  By including them in our family decisions we can significantly relax our control and boundaries, and we may discover our children become more relaxed across other areas of their lives, so these skills are transferable.

Eating Together

Since my kids were old enough to eat we’ve sat together at mealtimes.  From about 6 months, minus the salt, they’ve pretty much eaten the same softened food as an adult, they made a complete mess, and still often do. Yet it’s fun fun and sociable.

Make Table Connection & Conversation the Priority

They’ve never been rewarded with pudding if they eat all their food, having  a strong aversion to sticker rewards and making my children ‘compliant’ –  if they don’t eat there’s no fuss about it and if they do it’s the same, no attachment to any outcome. We enjoy being at the table with them, food isn’t the priority, table conversation and connection is.

Serving Suggestions 

Usually food is served from bowls at the table, so they can just help themselves to what they fancy and measure their own portions too.

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There might also be bread & butter, cheese, crackers and salad on offer.

Meal planning 

On Sundays, we sit together and go through calendars and planners in an attempt to get organised.  Again a lovely time to connect and communicate as a family. We often write down meals we would all like for the week, and which meals they can help prepare/cook.

Cooking Together

Encouraging  the children to join in with cooking as often as possible, such as squeezing oranges, grating cheese, making fruit crumbles and teaching them how to handle knives to chop makes them less food adverse and this can be encouraged from a young age.  Always looking for opportunities for them to get involved or do it on their own.

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The children often cook with Nanny Gill when they stay over in Streatham

Team Shopping 

Since they were very young they’ve created their own shopping lists. In the early days this really made learning to read and write meaningful, their pictures and words didn’t need to make sense it was just part of the process. They’d run along the aisles on their own to find things, then be engaged with packing, paying and then unpacking back home. They are still involved at 13 and 11, nowadays they can go to the shops alone and pick up milk, bread etc if we run short.

At most stages of the shop to table experiences they are included

Where Does Our Food Come From?

Many kids don’t know where food comes from.  For the past 12 years, we’ve been privileged to grow vegetables at our allotment, so the kids have been able to sow, grow and eat from scratch.

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Paul on our Shamba whilst we were living in Tanzania. I’d taken my class for a tour around the school searching for food, including the banana and papaya trees. Paul spoke with them about the food he’d grown.

If you don’t have access to a garden or the opportunity to plant a few seeds,  maybe see if you can visit a friend who does, or visit an allotment, garden centre or working farm. Most schools do have gardening projects, however I would say it can be rather tokenistic and dependent on the energy and enthusiasm of the staff member in charge.

Encourage children to look also at food labels and consider the ingredients, and even world maps to plot which country food has come from, they might enjoy this clip here. 

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Getting down with the potatoes in 2007 at our allotment in Woking, UK, loved that brolly too!

Look forward to hearing from you to learn more about what inspires your family eating habits, as it would be great to share it with other children,  schools and parents too.

Also,  love to find out more about you and what you LOVE to do, my linked in profile is here.

Workshops and 1:1 support for children and families listed in my newsletters at yogarascal.com tending to blog etc over there more at mo.

Jane Tyson
Solving World Problems Playfully! 

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Your Child Needs a Good Slap

My children are 22 months apart in age and when they were small the health visitor suggested I burn all the advice books I had surrounded myself with. I was stressed out thinking that I wasn’t getting things right because the book ‘said so’.   A particularly memorable morning was when one of them had climbed on top of the table and wee-d and the other simultaneously missed getting to the potty and poohed on the floor.  I certainly don’t look back at this moment with great relish but do remember laughing and seeing the humour in the situation whilst also  wanting to dial ‘Nanny 911’ for help. It’s also interesting it’s such a strong memory, I would love to go back to this point and give us all a big hug.

The Health Visitor also told me to go with my own intuition and to follow my head and heart. What beautiful advice.

Along the way,  I’ve learned that nobody is perfect, each family is unique, our values sacred to our own heart and home.

 

Another time when my daughter was playing up and not doing as she was told a friend said to me ‘your daughter needs a good slap‘. The words stung me as much as a slap would her.

This moment and more attempts at ‘discipline’ guided me to people and places where I developed a deeper understanding of what creates a feeling of a ‘good enough’ parent where you know you are getting it right despite what your children get up to or your friends say. A feeling of ‘I’m doing what’s in line with my values, my children are well loved, our head and hearts are in the right place and yes we still get on each others nerves and I get it wrong at times but that’s OK, we’re OK’

When I was out in Tanzania I met a beautiful yoga and meditation teacher/soul who said that from a Buddhist perspective my daughter had come to me as a teacher.  From this point my relationship changed with her and I now do look at Ellie as a person to learn from who mirrors my light and shadows.  She is a beautiful, determined, passionate, intelligent and independent soul and she really does have much to teach and I look back and admire her for not always doing what she’s told!

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My yoga and meditation friend in Tanzania with my daughter. We met in the Usembero Mountains on a bird spotting walk

We are now far better connected and the cracks in our hearts more healed.

There is more Har-Mum-Me

I’ll write about how we’ve created more connection which didn’t lead to a good slap for both of us another time.

Jane Tyson x

 

 

‘When children engage their senses with the world around them, they feel happier and more hopeful about life’ Marie Manuchehri

Finding Magic in the Woods with Luke.

Walk. Breathe. Stop. Notice. Smell. Breathe. Listen. Repeat

‘When children engage their senses with the world around them, they feel happier and more hopeful about life‘ Marie Manuchehri

‘Stop being weird mum’

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Chakra Number 2

JT x

#rewildthechild #mindfulness #summerfunandlearning

Mindfulopoly – Connection Through Collaboration & Play

My daughter’s main love language is ‘time’, for many children and adults ‘time is love’ Over the past 5 days we’ve played monopoly together. We’ve only got a little travel, she gets it all out and blu tacs the hotels in place each day. We play for about 30 – 45 minutes (her choice) and then take a photo of where we’ve got up to for the next time, and leave it out if possible. Yesterday,  I’d left the window ajar and the money blew everywhere.  With only 2 of us playing I feel this game could go on for about a year.

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We’ll get a new one soon

Phones and computers go off, head and heart connect, and present moment sits with us. We Mindfulopoly.  I’ve had to learn to not be bored when playing a board game, it wasn’t my thing really mainly because I wanted to be too physically and mentally on the go, she was the one teaching me a lesson.

I really look forward to this space we’ve been sharing together as I’ve seen how such a simple thing has deepened our connection. It’s sometimes working out the correct connection isn’t it? Next week it might be something different,  she certainly keeps me on my toes, well it’s a boot this week.

boot

JTx

Details of my next workshop – Correction Through Connection

Family Yoga Flow

Yoga At Home 

Would you like to have time during the week for yoga with your children, a time to connect, play, laugh, stretch, relax learn from each other and grow?  Perhaps you are finding it tricky to find a class and time to suit.  Practising yoga at home with your family can tick a lot of these boxes.

I’m going to share some ideas below for ways I’ve weaved it into my family life over the past 11 years and hope it gives you some ideas and confidence to try it at home too.

Post Natal Yoga

When my children were babies/toddlers I used to plug in a ‘Yoga for Post Natal Vitality‘ DVD with Wendy Teasdil and do a little here and there with them crawling over me and joining in. I figured they would just get used to the idea that ‘Mum’ did yoga and what it was. I don’t think there was so much online yoga around 10 years ago, now there is an abundance.  It wasn’t always that relaxing however it got me moving and I always felt better.

Yoga for Kids

As they grew, they often used to ask for this rather ackward yet fun happy clappy SunDance clip, and go around singing it. There’s other videos out there to choose from including the onesie lady from Cosmic Kids.

If you google ‘yoga for kids posters’ there’s loads you can print off like the one below. Have fun working through them and then you can make up your own stories, rhymes, games and moves. There aren’t any rules, you don’t have to stick to the names nobody is going to be judging or marking you. There’s also lots of yoga for kids books online and cards you could use if you wanted to take it further, but I don’t recommend spending as they will come up with plenty of ideas and there’s lots of free yoga support about.

How Long Should Yoga Take – Family Flow

There is no should, sometimes just 2 to 5 minutes of gentle breath work or holding a downward facing dog pose, can be enough to change a state.  What is your intention for doing it as this moment as a family – calm, joy, playfulness, energy, sleep?   if you are using online yoga choose a length that intuitively suits you.  if you are sharing yoga moves together and making them up just go with the family flow.

Yoga Begins in Savasanah

It is important to  rest in savasanah at the end, as yoga begins in this pose! It’s not easy for children to be still, however it’s good to model this pose, you can always play sleeping lions as an introduction. If you’ve had an energetic practice savasanah restores balance to the central nervous system, omitting it from our practice can leave us a little wired rather than relaxed, same for the kids.

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Yoga with Older Children

My children are now 12 and 10 and they do sometimes join in with me, what I have noticed is that my son he is very keen on fitness, and he will often do his press ups alongside my yoga practice!  He’s been used to seeing me practice it daily.    It’s there if the children want it and I know it’s had/having a positive impact on them.  As they are older I’m not so restricted and get out more, if I can’t schedule in a class for myself at the leisure centre, then I’ll use this  fantastic online yoga platform which I subscribe too, there’s a few kids and teenagers classes on here as well – online yoga classes

Would love to know what works best for you and what resources you use, please do comment below.

Jane Tyson

Think Less, Feel More.

Children Love it When We Are Playful
What have you done today that has tapped into your playful side?
Maybe you’ve sung a song, danced while you hoovered or showered, laughed at yourself or got down with the kids and played in a paddling pool, on the swings, slid down a slide, had some fun making lunch with eachother, giggled at a TV show together?

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Our children love to  see us being playful, and when we are playful together it brings us to the moment- the present. We can all relax together,  enjoy one other, learn and importantly connect.
It doesn’t have to be an organised play activity, we can just sit alongside them and be with what they are doing. You could say –
‘I’m just going to sit here with you because I like your company and I enjoy being with you’
Then be quiet. (even with older kids you can try this, they might think you are quite strange to begin with but just see where it takes you)
Sit and do nothing.
Wait and see where they lead you…
Try not to think too much about it, just  enjoy being and ‘feel’ the experience and connect to them with your head and heart, ground yourself to where you are.
Maybe if you end up doing nothing then that’s OK, they might just enjoy some stillness, space and silence with you, perhaps it’s what you both need at this moment.
If you end up ‘doing’ then let them lead, avoid asking questions, judging, expecting, ‘shoulding’ –  go with the playful flow. Moment by Moment. Heart to Heart.
#parentingrascal

Lesson from a Festival – Connection, Collaboration and Community

This weekend my family and I have been at a festival called  ‘Camp Bestival’.  It’s something we’ve done for almost 8 years and has become our main summer holiday.

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We all love adventure and variety, but there’s something quite comforting about going back to the festival each year, the children love it and there’s always so many unexpected surprises.

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I think the children also enjoy it so much because it connects us very much as a family, we aren’t distracted and are more physically, mindfully and heart-fully there for each other. 4 nights under canvas and  5 days wandering around fields is quite refreshing and tiring at the same time and helps us to reset and restore.

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It also gives us all time when we are there to visit things independently in a safe environment.

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I dipped in and out of the yoga fields which were free this year and  enjoyed learning new things and meeting refreshing new like-minded friends. I went to talks and sessions on  Qi Gong, Fusion Yoga, Grounding Meditations, a Self Care & Love talk, a Shamen Dance and Trance which ended up being quite profound and a talk on ‘How to Create a Happy Household’

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Recently, themes and words which keep dancing and singing to me are ‘collaboration, connection and community’and these again were  constantly reinforced at the festival.

I wanted to translate some of this learning into my yoga, meditation and parenting workshops and today have created this short video over here

festival

How are your holidays going.

Keep on Dancing x