How to Hold Space for Your Children as they Learn and Grow

This post is for all the hottie yoga mommies out there who are consistently fashionably late or for those of you who know someone who is and you wish to share this in a very non-judgmental and caring way. Today, I share with you my most recent Aha! moment.

This morning was different. Usually we would arrive to Mommy + Me yoga class and Hana, my 2.5 years young daughter would stay glued to me, arms and legs wrapped around me like a koala bear on a branch while the other children expressed themselves as snakes, dogs, frogs, and eagles, giggling and jumping about. It wasn't until maybe halfway or three quarters of the way through the class that she would slowly unglue herself from my waist and sit between my legs and we might have a double butterfly between us. And right before class was over she might leave my side and go pick up little pom-pom balls between her toes and proudly shout to both the teacher and me, "Look! I did it!" just in time for class to end in Savasana and Namaste.

Now I know that as mommieswe hold space for our little ones to discover their interests in any activity whether it's art, ballet, soccer, or yoga, and to allow the infinite transitions within each activity to happen more organically, in their own time – but perhaps it was the type of transition that I overlooked.

In Their Own Time

Here comes the Aha! moment – get ready! As elementary as it may seem for you yoga mommies who are always on time or early, for us other mommies who tend to call ourselves "fashionably late" or give some other excuse as to why we keep coming late for an activity, this might come as a huge teaching. So bear with me/us.

OH! Transition Time!

For most of my 43 years, I have become accustomed to having very little to no transition time for myself. I have become very accustomed to arriving and immediately connecting to those around me very comfortably. I have honed my ability to quickly read a room and either stay quiet within a new group or easily participate immediately as I resonated with a group that I was already familiar with (for example, with my yoga students when I walk into class a minute before class starts). But I realized Hana has not developed this ability yet at 2.5 years young and she may never. She might need at least 15 minutes to do this for herself (much like her father does). Aha!

Aha! Even though I was okay with arriving late or slightly after the start of class, my daughter was not. I did not pay attention to the very obvious signs she had given me when we arrived late. I would bring her into an activity that had already started whether it was our bi-monthly Mommy + Me class at the local library, or her brand new ballet class with 15 other students and their moms, or her weekly music class that we have gone to for over a year and where we know the other moms and kids as our friends intimately. Even though I needed little to no time to transition, my daughter did. She needed space to transition for sure.

Yep! Shocker. For the late mom in me, for the "established yoga teacher" in me, this was a huge aha! moment. (Again, for you mommies out there for which this is a no brainer, please bear with me/us – no judgment right?)

So that particular Monday, we arrived 15 minutes early to our Mommy + Me Yoga class at our local library. We were the second of about 10 kids and their caretakers to arrive by the time yoga class began. Hana had plenty of time to take off her shoes and coat. She had plenty of time to choose the perfect spot for herself that day. She had time to say hello to the teacher, even give her a hug. She had time to read some books, play with the train set, and even say hello to the man vacuuming as he prepared the floor space for our yoga class. She had time to welcome her friends that arrived after her and suggest they take a seat next to her. She had time to hold hands with her favorite friend Gianna before class started. And she had time to sit in the circle and chant the welcoming Om and to have her name be included in the hello song as they went around the circle. Usually we got there after the Om greeting and names. And guess what? She too was on the floor hissing like a snake, jumping around the room like a frog, and balancing as she wrapped her legs in eagle!

And all this time I was thinking that she just needed time to get herself into the mood of class even if that took many classes to do it. Or maybe she just didn't like yoga but I wanted her to like it. Nope. She needed more time before class to get into the mood. To feel out the energy of the room and let it organically match the energy within herself. AHA!

I tried it again on Wednesday at her weekly music class. We again arrived early. Shocker number two (for me)! And it happened again. Instead of the usual routine of arriving to music class a few minutes late, the kids running up to us to help us take our place in the circle and everyone giving us a warm silent hello and smile – on this particular Wednesday, we arrived first! Mr. Michael, our music teacher, was pleasantly surprised. He put out balls for Hana to kick around. Then as the other kids started to flow in, Hana was the one to welcome them to their seats and offer up some balls to kick around. No longer was my little girl clutching to my body like that koala bear to a gum tree, but she had had her transition time and it was much more organic for her to settle in by coming early. What if I had never figured it out and just thought of my child as one that just doesn't like music class, or ballet, art class, or yoga and I started to look for other activities I thought she did like( and continued to keep coming in late for those too!).

As for you moms who are saying, "Duh! of course that is what happened," please keep in mind that we other mommies who come "fashionably late" are coming from and living from another paradigm. If you are good friends with us, and if it feels right to share, then go ahead and share this story in your own way. Share it in a very sensitive non-judgmental way, as I have here, and will do with my other fashionably late mommie friends. Perhaps they can benefit from my aha! moment and their kids can perhaps start to unclutch from their mommies sooner too. Or not. Maybe those kids just don't like the activity as well. Who knows? As you like.

We all have our moments of enlightenment in so many ways on so many levels throughout our day andour lives. Let's just keep supporting each other, holding space for each other, and being aware of those moments of space whether to restore, or transition, or to change, as we all continue to stay conscious, loving, and non-judgmental within that space.

I once read a teaching that said that, 'God lives within the space of the inhale and the exhale.' May we all continue to hold and live amongst that space more often in as many moments of our day, and as many days of our living – especially you hottie (yoga) mommies!

(This is dedicated to my daughters Hana and Tesla, my greatest teachers who hold space for me as I continue to learn and grow.)

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