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Want to Work for Yourself? How PAMP Helped 3 Moms Launch their Business

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Updated: Sunday, September 24, 2017

Want to Work for Yourself? How PAMP Helped 3 Moms Launch their Business

This is for all of you parents solving epic problems every day – from closing the final snap on your toddler’s onesie to lifting your little person out of a nuclear meltdown because his food keeps falling out of his spoon. If you know there’s a better way, then please share it with the rest of us!

It only takes one little step at a time. That’s how Roovillage came about – our website that connects families with temporary openings in daycares and preschools, so you can book drop-in child care. And it’s thanks to the safe space we share: our PAMP community.

Many stars aligned for us to start Roovillage but PAMP was our Milky Way.

What?!? I need to pay for daycare that I’m not using? An idea is born.

Our story starts when I had to pay for a whole month of daycare that we didn’t need. My in-laws were in town, so they watched my son, but we needed to keep paying our daycare to hold our spot. It was hard to get over. 

In truth, I never got over it, and that’s how our idea was born. I thought, what if another family filled the spot? How could that change things? 

After some research, I learned that it could help take pressure off daycares that are worried about keeping their staff fully employed, which could then lead to breaks for regular families. But most importantly, this would mean that families could find and book drop-in child care at regular daycares. Finally, flexible, reliable child care! 

The stars align: A meeting of moms

Our little idea took a huge leap the day I met Anne, another PAMP mom. We both showed up to a PAMP-subsidized soccer class with our 23-month old boys – with the same problem: did they belong in the toddler class or the two-year-old class? …

Nevertheless, our boys hit it off, and we quickly bonded over our struggle to find moments to get the simplest things done as parents of young children. We were also rather lonely — working out our new identities as mothers and professionals, and that’s what brought us to PAMP in the first place.

More than a meeting of moms, it was a meeting of minds. Anne went to Yale, and her resume included Google and Facebook, and she was an experienced entrepreneur. I had a PhD in mass communications and knew how to apply the Web to help solve social issues. And Kim, our co-founder, had a master’s in early childhood education and was a head teacher at a Stanford child care center.  She was a mom of two little boys too. But importantly, Anne was the piece we were missing because she knew how to navigate the world of startups and PAMP brought us together.

Tip: Find a Partner


Forming our founding team was the most important step because it validated our idea. You may want to shift your idea if you can’t find a partner or champion after a while because it’s your idea’s first big test. Our team also brought together complimenting talents, forced us to organize, and even divided costs. But most importantly, it created an in-home cheering squad that pushed us to keep taking the next step.



PAMP Family Day 2016: Feedback from families

After our team came together, we did our research, talked to families, and came up with a plan. We still needed to talk to a lot more families though. So, when an email about PAMP Family Day appeared in our inbox, we knew it was our chance because we had attended with our kids the previous year. 

Thanks to our tent and the space provided by PAMP, we talked to families about our idea – their encouraging words told us that we were on the right track. (Thank you, if you were one of the families!)

PAMP Family Day 2017: Hello world!

After a year, we were ready to go, with a website and a host of wonderful daycares and preschools signed up. When ads for PAMP Family Day popped into our inboxes again, we knew where we needed to be, so we set up our tent and shared Roovillaeg with PAMP families. (Thank you, again, if you were one of the families that stopped in to learn about us and to enjoy our water tables.)

To infinity and beyond!

This is just the beginning of our story, but it happened because we had a safe space made up of families that encouraged us along the way. As families with young children, we know how it feels to be stretched, to juggle, and to long for a hot shower, so we hope to bring you some peace of mind knowing that we’ve got you covered when it comes to finding reliable and affordable child care when you need it.

We are pushing the message that access to child care must change, and our first step is to open the precious few daycare spots to more families and more flexible schedules. We have a long way to go to improve access on a societal level, especially with urban areas facing severe child care shortages which harms young families that are already stretched, but we’ll get it done one step at a time with you by our side.

As our closest community, please visit roovillage.com and tell your friends about us. Let us know how we can serve you better along the way too. 

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the next PAMP Family Day!

Yukari Schneider, PhD, MPH
Founder, Roovillage

Tip: First Steps to Launch

The first steps are simple, but they get you going, and it starts defining your style and team dynamics. Choose your company name

 

  1. Come up with a logo

  2. Create first promotional materials – business cards, flyers, and simple website that explains your idea. They help when you network and start building interest.

  3. Put yourself out there! It’s a harder step, but you just made beautiful promo materials, so you have a message to share. The PAMP website and events are great places to start.

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Meet PAMP’s Marketing Chair Melissa McAlpine

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Updated: Sunday, September 24, 2017

Meet PAMP’s Marketing Chair Melissa McAlpine

As a mom to one-year- old twins, PAMP Marketing Chair Melissa McAlpine joined the club a year ago after she and her husband moved from San Francisco to Mountain View, knowing they would need extra help when their girls arrived. Not knowing too many people in the area, Melissa found the club, joined and decided to take a more active role when she joined the board this year.

“I wanted to connect with other mothers of young’uns and be part of brining a sense of community to families in the area,” she says. “I’m not a natural extrovert and would gladly curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and a book, but I think it’s important to take the time out to build community and connected with others.”

Melissa, who initially took the membership chair position, soon moved into the marketing chair role – a comfortable position for the product manager with a background in non-profit member engagement and marketing programs. 

“I do a lot of user research and user experience design as part of my career and think it’s really fun to find out what makes people see value in the service you’re providing and to construct messaging and outreach around that perceived value,” she says, adding that she wants to use the role to help the club become a “no-brainer” for parents in the area and is excited to help strengthen the club’s position as a local parenting community resource. 

“What sets PAMP apart from other online communities is that it’s focused on the PA/MP area,” she says. “If we can build on the ability to make local and in-life connections between parents and kids more robust, then we can truly provide a unique service with unique benefits to our members.”

When not chasing after her two toddlers or working, Melissa says she enjoys yoga and has been a practitioner for 15 years. She also enjoys hiking with her dogs and family, swimming, meditation and cooking. She and her girls love reading “Gossie: A Gosling on the Go!” by Oliver Dunrea and Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae.

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Simple Healthy Snacks Your Kids Will Love

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, September 13, 2017

“Mom, I’m hungry, can I have a snack?!” Sound familiar?

 

Children’s small bellies fill up fast and they burn energy quickly, so most children need a morning and afternoon snack.  Snack time is a great opportunity to get in essential vitamins and nutrients that children may have missed during a meal, but finding something they will enjoy can often be a challenge. Keep these simple tips in mind to better prepare for snack planning.

 

·         Try to incorporate a fruit or vegetable.  And if needed, balance it with a healthy protein source or whole grain.

 

·         Have veggies cut up and ready to grab and go!  Vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber and they are very low in calories.  If your kids are nagging you for a snack right before dinner, pull out the veggie tray.  They can’t possibly spoil their appetite for dinner by eating too many vegetables. If it’s a struggle, try pairing it with a dipping sauce that they enjoy.

 

·         Keep a fruit bowl in your kitchen.  The more exposure kids get to particular foods, the more likely they are to eat them.  Keep the healthy food in sight and keep the junk behind closed doors – or just don’t buy it!

 

Next time your little one asks for a snack, try one of these healthy options that will keep them energized and happy:

 

Orange Yogurt Pops

Stir together equal amounts of peeled and chopped oranges and vanilla Greek yogurt. Spoon into Popsicle molds, insert sticks, and freeze until firm.  These frozen pops deliver a healthy dose of vitamin C, calcium, and protein.

 

Peanut Butter (or any nut or seed butter) and Fruit or Veggies

Opt for the all-natural peanut butter.  The only ingredients you should see on the jar label are peanuts and possibly salt – that’s it!  Peanut butter pairs well with apples, bananas, celery, and baby carrots (may sound strange, but it’s delicious!).

 

Apple and Cheese Boats

Cut an apple into quarters.  Attach a small cheese cube onto the apple with a toothpick.  This is a great produce and protein snack!

 

String Cheese with Fruit or Vegetable

String cheese is portion controlled and an excellent source of calcium and protein.  Pairing it with a fruit or vegetable makes it a winning combination!

 

Mini Pizzas

Using half of a whole grain English muffin or whole grain mini bagel, you can create a tasty and well balanced energy rich snack.  Use a jarred pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese made with part skim milk.  Pile it high with healthy toppings such as olives, baby spinach, pineapple, or ham and bake.

 

Hummus with Veggies

Dip veggies into hummus!  I recommend trying: baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, mini bell peppers, cucumber slices, snap peas, celery sticks, broccoli, cauliflower, or jicama.

 

Fruit Dipped in Yogurt

Slice up strawberries, apples, pears, or bananas.  Use a vanilla, low fat yogurt to dip or mix the fruit in.  For a different flavor twist and additional protein, add some all natural peanut butter to the yogurt first!

 

Fruit Kabobs

Kids love finger foods.  Thread your kids’ favorite fruit on a skewer.

 

For more healthy eating ideas and suggestions for the whole family, visit the downtown Los Altos Safeway store (160 1st St.) to chat with El Camino Hospital’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Sheri Berger. Sheri is in store every Monday and Thursday to deliver healthy food education and meal planning ideas to shoppers so they can make better nutritional and lifestyle choices. To schedule time with Sheri while you shop, email sheri.berger@elcaminohospital.org. For a list of upcoming in-store educational sessions and supermarket tours, visit www.elcaminohospital.org/storeclasses.

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From the Vault: The Power of Touch: From Birth to Infant Massage

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, September 13, 2017

For babies, the nine months of pregnancy may feel like one long, loving embrace. It’s not surprising, then, that studies support the benefits of skin-to-skin contact for mothers and babies from the moment of birth, throughout infancy and beyond.

If you’re an expectant mother, you can enjoy these benefits by including immediate skin-to-skin contact with your baby as part of your birth plan. Even for babies born by cesarean section, skin-to-skin time right after delivery is not only possible; it’s a wonderful, strong start for both mother and baby.

If babies remain in skin-to-skin contact with moms after delivery, and are healthy enough that they do not require immediate interruption for weighing, eye ointment, bath, moving, or other care, they will experience a series of instinctive bonding stages. The multiple benefits of skin-to-skin contact include, but are not limited to:

·         keeping babies warm after birth;

·         babies staying more calm and crying less;

·         babies breathing easier and having more normal heart rates;

·         higher levels of relaxation hormones for mom;

·         babies latching onto the breast all by themselves or with very minimal assistance;

·         more successful and longer-term breastfeeding.

As babies grow, infant massage provides a natural next step to continue this bond and its benefits. Infant massage is about bonding, loving and respect. It is best to start by asking permission to begin the massage, and then listen for the baby’s cues to see if they’re engaging or disengaging. Babies communicate from the moment they’re born through body language, sound and behavior.

In just a sampling of its benefits, infant massage:

·         enhances babies’ awareness of being loved, accepted and safe;

·         improves sleep patterns;

·         improves digestion and elimination;

·         reduces fussiness and increases comfort in the environment;

·         improves neurological function;

·         increases weight gain for premature and full-term babies;

·         increases lactation production for mothers;

·         reduces postpartum depression for mothers;

·         improves relaxation for baby and parents.

From the first cuddle to the lasting bond, babies and parents can benefit enormously from learning their “first language” – touch – creating a strong start toward a lifetime of nurturing affection and good health.

Susan Crowe, MD, is an obstetrician at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford and a clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Maureen McCaffrey is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor at Packard Children’s. Learn more at startstrongbaby.com.

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My Child Isn’t Walking – Should I Be Concerned?

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Walking, one of the major milestones that people know in a child’s development.  Walking can happen at any time.  You have kids that are walking before they are a year old and some that are still working on it once they’ve turned two, or even older.  If you ask my family, I was running before I turned one but am still working on mastering the concepts of walking without tripping!

There are so many pieces that go into walking.  When you stop to think about all the parts, its amazing that any of us got up off the ground, let alone took our first steps!

There is such a wide range of ages for kids to start walking and many families may ask their pediatrician’s about if they should be worried if they aren’t walking by age one, or by age one and a half, etc.  That in and of itself isn’t a concern, however what you need to look at is what they ARE doing.  If you take a look at the precursors to walking it may give you a better idea about whether or not you should be concerned.

Prior to a kiddo being able to walk they need to be able to stand.  So look at if your child is pulling to stand at furniture or if they are standing holding onto your hands or they may even be standing all by themselves.  A lot of times kids will start pulling to stand in their crib and bouncing up and down.  This is how they are learning about how their muscles work so that they can use them in this ‘new’ upright position they’ve discovered.

If your child is standing but not yet taking independent steps then the next thing you want to look at is if they are cruising.  Are they moving sideways along the furniture while holding on?  This process helps them to learn how to weight shift so that when they begin to take steps they know to put their weight over one foot so they can lift the other foot up and step.

If they are cruising but not walking you want to next consider if they are attempting to move between pieces of furniture.  This is a more advanced form of cruising.  You can encourage this by having your couch and coffee table and chairs spaced out so they will have support to target as they attempt to move around on their feet.  They may be taking one or two steps between the objects or they may be keeping their feet planted while they reach as far as possible to get their hands on that next support surface before they move their feet.

If they are doing this but not walking then they are almost there.  You just want to create opportunities for them to have to take steps more and more on their own.  Maybe its moving a short distance from mom to dad or from the couch to mom.  Make it motivating and they will move!  It won’t be pretty initially because it will look more like a lunge at the support surface but that is how they learn how much of each muscle group to turn on so that they can eventually maintain their balance and move.

So, as you start to ask yourself if you should be concerned work backwards looking at what they are doing.  Get them solid on their building blocks that lead up to walking and they will get to walking sooner.  Just make sure you are ready for them to be into everything!!

This article was reprinted with permission from Starfish Therapies

Starfish Therapies is a pediatric physical therapy company dedicated to making a difference in the lives of the kids and families we work with. We believe that therapy should involve enough fun and imagination that a child not only enjoys it, but looks forward to coming and doesn't realize how hard they are working.

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Nurturing a Gritty Kid

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Grit, as defined by world-renowned psychologist Dr. Angela Duckworth, PhD, is “our passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” It’s the effort, commitment, and determination to adapt in the face of challenge and nevertheless persist.

Current cultural values too often focus on having a fixed amount of natural talent, intelligence, and giftedness. Either you have it or you don’t. Phrases that we all use with the best of intentions include, “you’re so smart!” or “what a natural!”

However, Duckworth argues that the cultivation of grit, which can grow and develop, is what will truly prepare your child for a life that is satisfying, meaningful, and gratifying. We now know that brains are malleable and benefit from opportunities to grow, strengthen, and create new wiring connections throughout life.

As the last weeks of summer approach, this is a perfect opportunity to reexamine how you already may be cultivating grit in your family. You may also find that you inadvertently ignore or even undermine the development of grit. Instead, I invite you to highlight and reframe setbacks or perceived failures as grit-growing opportunities.

Be sure to take note of what motivates and interests your child. What is his or her passion? Duckworth recommends that parents encourage children to stick with an interest for longer than one to two years and during that time to focus on growth and improvement. She devised and practices the “Hard Thing Rule,” which means that you select a challenging activity—a sport, instrument, art, dance, or a foreign language—that you must practice nearly every day. Everyone in a family selects their own commitment activity and must stick with it until the end of the tuition period or school year. She recommends that you revisit your interest and commitment, to anticipate peaks and valleys, but to encourage one another to persist through boredom, struggles, or challenges.

Children, especially if they have low self-confidence, ADHD, anxiety, or learning challenges, may need extra assistance to promote and cultivate grit. That is because self-doubt, loss of interest, the drive for novelty, or the cumulative impact from years of negative feedback may inadvertently undermine the development of grit. All children, but especially these children, will benefit from their parents, caregivers, coaches, and teachers mindfully reinforcing, modeling, and intentionally encouraging the growth of grit in them.

Here are some sample phrases to consider adding to your repertoire when giving your child feedback, praise, or encouragement:

“Yes, keep on practicing!”

“I love seeing how passionate you are about this.”

 “I know it’s hard, I’m here to help, but first let’s look at what you’ve already tried.”

“I believe in you to see this through.”

“You can be proud of yourself for sticking with it. I’m proud of you for trying, learning, and growing.”

Happy gritification.

Ellie Pelc, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist at Parents Place in San Francisco.

This article was reprinted, with permission, from Parent's Place. 

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Meet PAMP's Events Chair Rebecca Cafiero

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Updated: Monday, September 4, 2017

PAMP Events Chair Rebecca Cafiero joined the club in April of 2016, when her son, Luca, was two months old. As a first time parent, Rebecca was eager to meet local moms with children similar in age to Luca.

 

 Like many of the 2017-2018 PAMP Board of Directors, Rebecca is passionate about creating a community amongst women and decided to join the board to use her skillset of planning events and her Google Calendar “samurai skills.”

 

“The role include being the events visionary for the PAMP team, prioritizing goals and assisting in the strategy to grow PAMP’s presence through events, as well as getting to know other local parents,” she says.

 

Rebecca is focused on increasing membership retention by increasing the number of events and expanding exposure of PAMP’s offerings to attract new membership while engaging current members. She is looking forward to “fostering more member organized events.”

 

“The board is a diverse group with different interests and backgrounds, but a shared enthusiasm for growing PAMP and its impact,” she says.

 

Rebecca, a resident of Palo Alto, says she and Luca loved attending PAMP’s Blanket Babies and the subsidized classes at Music Together and My Gym when he was younger. Currently, the pair love reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Rebecca says she’s eager to for her son to experience the classic movies – like Mary Poppins - she loved growing up.

 

As a work from home mom, Rebecca has turned her hobby of helping women live their healthiest, most balanced lives into a career. She also enjoys yoga, dance, Soul Cycle, mom dates that include manicures and pedicures, golden lattes, good boos, reading, writing, travel, “anything related to personal mastery” and watching Luca learn new things. Learn more about Rebecca at https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccacafiero/

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Register Now for Fall Fun at the Farm Day

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Updated: Monday, August 28, 2017

It's that time of year again! The weather is cooling - well, it will be soon enough - the pumpkins are almost ready to be picked and the crisp fall air is on its way back to the Peninsula! It can only mean one thing: PAMP's Fall Fun at the Farm Day is on its way!

Back by popular demand, Fall Fun at the Farm Day will be Saturday, September 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. At only $10 per PAMP family and $25 for non-PAMP families, you will want to make sure you're there for all the fun!

Ride a pony, play in the petting zoo, jump in the bouncy houses and take a hayride or train ride. The day will be filled with everything you've come to expect from a PAMP outing at Pastorino Farms in Half Moon Bay! There will even be a pumpkin patch for everyone to enjoy!

As always, PAMP will provide light snacks and water but feel free to pack a lunch or bring a picnic for your family. 

Pastorino Farms in Half Moon Bay is 30 minutes from the Palo Alto/Menlo Park area. Come and enjoy all of the great activities and spend time with fellow PAMP members. The event starts at 10 a.m., but you can show up any time and spend as much or as little time as you want. Children of all ages are welcome.

Register today!

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10 Proven Benefits of Yoga for Your Kids

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Updated: Monday, August 28, 2017

Childhood is fun. We think that the moon is following us wherever our car goes. We do not spit the chewing gum even after we have sucked the life out of it. We pee in the swimming pool. Oops… admitted it by mistake! Being weird without being high on drugs is one of the side-effects of childhood.

Let’s face it, before the intrusion of technology, we at least had a childhood, no matter how weird we acted.

Knock Knock… Any room for Yoga?

Technology — what was supposed to be a useful servant has now become a bad master. A one-minute task of switching off the alarm or checking an email leads to half an hour of browsing and scrolling through messages, pictures, and jokes. Before we know, study time, play time, and eating habits are already compromised. As parents, we plan so much for our kids, but not everything goes as per our plans. Given all the big plans you have for your kids, does yoga fit in it?

How Yoga is Spreading

Yoga is an excellent way to borrow “my time,” and feel loved, alive, and free from technology invasion. As they say, logout, shutdown, and do yoga. Interestingly enough, a growing number of kids are embracing yoga in their lives. Kudos to their parents! The National Center for Health School’s health blog reported that 1.7 million American kids are hooked to yoga. These numbers were from 2012. Getting caught by its growing interest, it won’t be an understatement to claim that the figures might have doubled by now. Hope you are not left on a cliffhanger dying to know the current numbers. Ok, let’s take a look at some current statistics.

Yoga by the Numbers

A study conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance states that more than 36 million people practiced yoga in 2016 in the United States alone. Now, here’s the evolution part. Four years back, the numbers were around 20 million. Judging by its growth, we might hit 50 million in a year or two. Bingo! That would be a monumental feat by all means. After all, these are not mere data, but a positive endeavor in the right direction. We all know that yoga has been linked to our overall health and wellness. Since Yoga among kids is also on the rise, let’s explore some proven benefits of yoga for kids.

1. Encourages Self-Acceptance

There is no shortage of people in the real world that send out endless messages of lack and inadequacy. It’s easy for our kids to get sabotaged with these messages. As a result, they might grow up with feelings of self-doubt and lack of confidence. What may also follow is the ruthless job of masking the stinky feeling of frustration, pain, and anger. At best, we could only be a mere spectator to this event, especially when our kids have mastered the art of hiding their feelings from us. Don’t fret yet because this Satan of better life won’t be able to put up a battle against a much stronger opponent, ‘Yoga.’

Yes, yoga is a no bullshit approach to killing self-doubt at its roots. It helps one gravitate to a state of mind where one is comfortable being themselves. It arms kids with the right tools to break off the undesirable feeling of lack and self-doubt. Yoga clears all the clouded thoughts and allows the sun to shine once again by eliminating all the harbored negative thoughts and by killing the inner critics in a person. So, it pays to embrace yoga to eliminate the soul-sucking self-doubt from your kid’s life. There is no better way to morph oneself into a better and more confident person.

2. Physical Benefits

As reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five school going kids are obese. Damn! The obesity epidemic is on a ruthless trail. As we all know, obesity can have immediate as well as long-term impact on a kid’s social, physical, and mental wellbeing. Yoga can keep their bodies moving. With daily exercise, kids can derive a great deal of physical benefits such as reduction in weight, improved athletic performance, increased flexibility, better muscles, protection from injury, and healthier body metabolism.

Believe it or not, we have just scratched the surface over here. Truth be told, the health benefits of yoga are difficult to explain in a nutshell. We haven’t even talked about how it improves body posture, solves digestive problems, betters bone health, increases blood flow, drops blood pressure, relaxes our system, and so on. Not sold yet to roll out the Yoga mat for your kids? Okay, stay tuned as we introduce you to some more benefits of yoga for kids.

3. Living in the Present

Adults or kids, we are so tied to the past and future that we forget about the valuable ‘present.’ Believe it or not, most of us are doing a great disservice to ourselves by being trapped in the past and future.  Yoga can help us take stock of the incredible power of the present. Yoga attends to our mind, body, breath, emotions, and soul. By sharpening our mind and through the awareness of the breath, it allows us to stay focused in the present moment. So, don’t quit yet. This is not the moment to step back.

By helping us conquer fear, tame desires, and defeat sadness, yoga can get rid of unnecessary stress and expectations that could be holding us back from living in the moment. Instead of dictating actions to our body, yoga coaches the mind on how to listen to our body in complete awareness without any judgments or expectations. Remember, this is not an easy state to attain. It could take a while for any yoga practitioner to get there. Therefore, it helps to start off early. By the time kids grow up, they would be a naturally present person.

4. Awesome Stress Tool

Just because you can’t see your kid’s thoughts, doesn’t mean that they cannot fall prey to stress. A study conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey states that one out of every five kid in the United States suffers from some kind of mental problem. Remember, kids are not emotionally prepared or equipped to handle stress like adults. They often fail to detach themselves from the source of stress, so they could react oddly in certain situations.

Practicing yoga can prove to a great outlet to disburse stress. Health experts have long agreed that yoga releases happy endorphins—also investigated and confirmed by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Not to forget the fact that yoga incorporates several relaxing moments to calm one’s mind and body. Its proven calm relieving abilities provides both immediate as well as long-term benefits. So, don’t let the stress of daily life hold your kids back. They don’t deserve to lead a life filled with panic, anxiety, and trauma. Let the Yoga wand do its magic!

5. Improves Focus and Concentration

Today, our kids are bombarded with endless external factors that keep their mind scattered for the most part. Whether it’s Pokemon or any other fancy app, kids surrender to every other digital tool on the release date itself. Their focus and concentration appear nowhere in sight. As a result, their grades plummet. Our kids suffer in other areas of life as well, where focus and concentration are a necessary evil. Most parents are left with a grossed look on their face because they know that they are up against their worst enemy, ‘evil technology,’ which has already won the first round.

For the round two, it’s advisable to show up in the enemy’s territory with your companion, yoga. Yes, it’s proven that yoga has the ability to improve focus and concentration, so you are sure to win the upcoming battle. When kids learn how to stay glued to one place and focus on what’s important at the moment, they do not let their minds wander easily. Better yet, they do not get distracted by everything under the sun. This boosts their attention span like nothing else. With improved focus and concentration, they perform better in school and all other walks of life. So, there you have it, the elegant secret to better focus and concentration.

6. Fosters Non-Competitive Environment

The majority of us are raised with the belief that we cannot grow without cut-throat competition. Without competition, we are bound to be a lazy, mediocre bum in life. The worst part is that competition compels us to envy winners and feel marvelously bad about ourselves on losing a battle. On the other hand, healthy competition also brings out the best in us. Truth be told, competition is a double-edged sword. It has its share of good and bad elements.

Gladly, yoga is a non-competitive activity. So, there are no undesirable expectations, pride, or envy involved. Moreover, yoga keeps things in perspective. In yoga, kids are not taught to compare themselves with one another. People of all ages try to be the better version of themselves as opposed to being at each other’s throat. With a mix of young and old people, it’s more of a joyful, health beneficial environment without the competitive ruckus. It’s more of an inward journey of life that does not have room for an outward competitive drive.

7. Improves Mind-Body Coordination

Yoga is a Sanskrit word which means yoke or join. At its core, this 5000-year old art means union. A host of yoga poses fuels certain chemicals in our brain to promote inner peace and mental wellbeing as stated by a new study conducted by a UCLA-led team of neuroscientists. It’s the most effective union of the mind, body, and the soul to release boatloads of harmony, happiness, and good health. The mind-body synergy offers unparalleled benefits to a person. All yoga poses emphasize on deep, controlled breathing, which is an essential step to calm the mind and body to experience deep rooted benefits. Over the years, a growing amount of studies has proven the physical and mental benefits of mind-body exercises.

8. Sparks Creativity

When kids are allowed to do their own yoga poses, it inspires them to be creative in life. New possibilities emerge when kids are given such freedom. As a matter of fact, it proves to be one of the best forms of self-expression. It helps one generate positive energy to get motivated to access their limitless creativity. Not to forget the fact that studies have shown that mindfulness meditation has long been associated with creativity. So, creativity hasn’t vanished from our lives yet. Damn! Its use is on the extinct these days. Yoga helps to fill the gap over here by poking creativity out of our kid’s head.

9. Boosts Confidence

As kids master new poses with daily practice, it creates a flow between the mind and body, which radiates confidence. Remember, it all starts with baby steps, before the kids are able to do near-impossible poses. The humble start to praiseworthy feats imbibes a great deal of confidence in them. Since yoga allows enough opportunity to master a pose at one’s own pace, there is no room for frustration or disappointment. Even learning at a slow pace does not take a hit at one’s confidence level. Having mastered some poses in the past, they know that victory is only a few lapses away. All they need to do is keep moving.

10. Encourages Social Interaction

Yoga teaches kids that we are all the same from the inside, no matter how flashy a person may appear from the outside. Moreover, yoga inspires kids to be more patient, helpful, kind, and empathetic towards others. A person with such qualities is generally welcomed with open arms in a group setting.  A study conducted by the University of Nottingham on kids showed that certain yoga poses encouraged togetherness, mutual caring, and a more positive attitude, which made social interaction an easy task.

ConclusionUnlike other things that we have tried in the past, we are not paying a lip service to a good life by incorporating yoga in our kid’s life. With most children steadily falling prey to technology and illness, it won’t be an understatement to claim that yoga is the cornerstone of active and healthy living. Not to forget the value of happiness, satisfaction, and self-worth it generates.

So, it pays to be a “go-getter” and head shopping for a yoga mat to set the path for a yoga routine in your kid’s life. It would prove to be one of the best decisions of your life. Even if were to derive 10% of the benefits outlined above, the time spent on yoga would be fully justified.

Sandra Cobain is a mum of two. Child psychologist. Ardent admirer of art, crafts and cooking. She is the head of content for BestForTheKids. When she's not busy crafting posts & researching about compelling content ideas, she can be spotted playing outdoors with her two adorable children.

This article was reprinted, with permission from BestForTheKids.com

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Bring Back the Playpen and Lock the Bathroom Door! 5 Simple Steps Toward Self-Care for Moms

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Feeling stressed? You’re not alone. Over 70% of U.S. moms say mothering is “incredibly stressful.” Studies also show that chronically stressed moms tend to be more insensitive to their kids’ needs, and that a mother’s ability to manage her own stress is a strong predictor of the quality of her relationship with her children and how happy her children are.

So now we can be stressed about how our stress might be harming our kids!

Despite the widely held belief that self-care is important, most mothers express guilt over taking time for themselves, or even consider it indulgent. Or they simply can’t fit it in between meeting everyone else’s needs. But caring for ourselves not only improves our capacity to be more attuned to our families, it models an important message to our kids: You are important and deserving. Be good to yourself. Our kids learn these things from us, and what better way to teach them than to model it for them?

Here are 5 ways to model the importance of taking care of ourselves:

  1. Bring back the playpen! (or the age-appropriate equivalent). Mothers of our generation were taught that our kids should have free rein in order to explore their environment. And while we know that exploration and experimentation is good for kids of all ages, so is mom’s ability to take a shower or pay the bills without fearing that baby will stick his finger in a socket. Kids don’t get free rein at our expense – so put baby in the playpen, or turn on the TV if you must. Having your full attention and the freedom to explore their surroundings is important, but so is your getting a shower when you need one!
  2. Say “no”. No, I will not drive you to Johnny’s house, because I’m tired. No, you cannot sign up for gymnastics on Tuesday nights, because mommy’s favorite yoga class is on Tuesday nights. No, you cannot have the new iTouch, because it’s expensive and I want to buy something for myself this month. We want our kids to be happy and we want them to have every opportunity. This is all well and good, until their needs and wants become more important than ours. Since our brains are literally hard-wired to meet their needs before our own, it’s crucial to take a step back and remember that we need to prioritize ourselves sometimes.
  3. Prioritize relationships. One of the best things we can do for our kids is to invest in our relationships. It’s just fine to have a night (or many nights) out without the kids, or to shush the kids or shoo them away if mommy and daddy are talking. They will see that mom and dad care about each other and listen to each other, and this will teach them to seek a good partner who listens to them when they are developing relationships in the future.
  4. Lock the bathroom door. They’ll bang on the door and shout and cry, but if you’re consistent, they’ll get the picture eventually, and leave you to your business. Moms need a few minutes alone to shower, and going to the bathroom doesn’t have to be a family affair.
  5. Go to Therapy. Therapy can be a place that’s just yours, with a person that’s all your own, to talk about whatever it is that’s on your mind. For many mothers, it’s the only hour each week that’s all theirs. At Parents Place, we see moms for therapy for a variety of reasons including help with managing stress, working through relationship problems, guidance in making a tough decision, improving parenting, and more.

Take care of yourself! And feel free to call us at Parents Place if you would like a little help balancing everything that it takes to be a parent today.

Alyse Clayman, LCSW, is the Children’s Clinical Director at Parents Place in San Rafael, CA. She provides consultation and therapy to families and children of all ages.

This article was reprinted, with permission, from Parent's Place. 

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