5 Ways to Tap into Your Inner Child
by Susie Beghin, RECE, Founder of Alpha’s Discovery Kids
As an educator, parent, and daycare owner, I feel blessed to be around children every day. Being with children has allowed me to learn how to tap into my own inner child. I have seen firsthand how important it is to my relationship with them. Children tend to engage with me and seek me out when I’m connected to my inner child.
What is the Inner Child?
The Inner Child lives inside you. It can best be described as “child-like”, innocent and free from worry. It can’t be taken away, but it can hide. It’s like a light shining within you that can’t burn out, but it can be temporarily dimmed.
Why tap into your Inner Child?
There are a couple of important reasons to tap into your inner child. One of the main reasons you will want to do this is to feel more joy and energy in your life. Have you ever noticed that children seem to be full of joy most of the time? They tend to smile and laugh more than adults. They are full of energy! The second reason is, as a parent, it will strengthen your relationship with your children. In the book Learn To Play, I state the importance of tapping into your inner child when you are playing with them. It will allow you to influence and educate them in the best way possible. And finally, it’s good for your mental health. When you tap into your inner child, it feels good!
5 Ways to Tap into Your Inner Child
- Spend Time with Children in Play – I found this way to be the easiest. Children naturally will bring out your inner child when you are playing with them. Resist the urge to direct the play. Just follow along with what they are doing. The more you follow, the more your inner child will come out. Let yourself be free in the play. Don’t worry about anything – like making a mess. Don’t be afraid to get silly and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Be playful and have fun.
- Be Curious – We can learn how to be curious by observing children. They naturally have a sense of wonder and curiosity about everything. They are learning about their world and there are many new things to learn. A baby is just figuring out how to open and close a kitchen cupboard. Imagine their excitement when they finally get it open! They want to do it repeatedly! Children are like scientists that are always testing a hypothesis. They are curious about how things work. We need to see the world in the same way. We need to be curious and look at the world with the eyes of a child.
- Be Mindful – Being mindful means focusing on the present moment without any judgement. Children are naturally mindful and have a heightened sense of awareness. They tend not to worry about the past or future and are mostly focused on what is happening in the present moment. We can learn a lot from children in this regard. Many of our worries and problems arise when we are too focused on the past or the future. We forget to enjoy the present moment, which is full of opportunities and joy. Want to learn how to be mindful? Click here and watch one of our videos about how to cultivate mindfulness.
- Look up – We live in a world with a lot of distractions and mobile phones have had a huge impact on us. I am guilty of spending too much time looking at my phone and scrolling through social media instead of enjoying the scenery on a drive. I have sat at the dinner table answering a message on my phone instead of engaging in conversation with the people sitting beside me. These same phones that are supposed to connect us to the world, often tend to disconnect us – emotionally. When we look up from our phones, we notice the world around us in a new way. We can’t engage with that world if we are looking down. Our inner child needs us to look up.
- Do something new – One of the best ways to challenge yourself to tap into your inner child is to try something new. Learn a new language, visit a new destination, or try out a new craft. Whatever you do, make sure you haven’t done it before. This will challenge your brain to make new connections the same way a child does when they learn something new.
Once you learn to tap into your inner child, you will be well equipped to engage with you kids and build the relationship. The spark is within you, you just need to let it shine!
Learn to Play Workshops: For Parents
Susie Beghin wants to give children the best start in life. It’s why she founded Alpha’s Discovery Kids in 2012, a daycare and preschool dedicated to providing quality education and a positive learning environment.
Now, Susie shares the foundation of Alpha’s Discovery Kids’ beloved and celebrated inquiry-based curriculum in her new book, Learn to Play: The Four Pillars Learning System.
Learn to Play: The Four Pillars Learning System, is a must-read for all parent-to-be or parents with young children! In the book, Susie shares her teaching method with parents and educators as a tool for learning both at home and in the childcare setting. For each pillar of learning, there are strategies on how to build skills as well as sample free-play and intentional play activities – by age group, from infants to preschoolers.
Susie is now offering workshops to teach the fundamental concepts in the book for parents who want to learn how to teach their kids through play. She is inviting parents to participate in the free workshop to explore the book in a hands-on learning environment. Note: parents must purchase the book to enroll in the free workshop.
The workshops will be held monthly at the following location:
Alpha’s Discovery Kids – Mississauga
6435 Erin Mills Parkway E-02 Mississauga, ON L5N 4H4
Tickets available on EventBrite. Click here to book tickets.
Sleep Tips for Young Children: How to get a good night’s rest
Some say “never wake a sleeping baby” but what if the baby won’t sleep at all? What if they sleep too much? Knowing how much sleep your child needs can be confusing because it seems everyone has an opinion on the topic and there is so much information to sift through about sleep tips.
Keep in mind that what works for some may not work for all. While some of you may be simply exhausted because your child doesn’t sleep enough, other parents may be experiencing worry about children who sleep too much. Some children will naturally fall below the recommended or typical sleep amounts for their age group and can function well on less sleep. Some children may need extra sleep, but it’s something to monitor because that means less awake time to learn and play. You’ll want to check with your pediatrician if your child’s sleep needs are excessively high or low.
If these topics are keeping you up at night and your child too, you are not alone. Sleep is a big topic among parents and it’s important to remember to stick to the facts. Always use reputable sources of information online, books or consult with your doctor rather then using the advice in a mommy’s group, from a friend or family member. Although the latter may be a trusted source, it’s best to check on that advice with a professional to make sure it is sound.
How Much Sleep Do Children Need?
This chart is a general guide to the amount of sleep children need over a 24-hour period, including nighttime sleep and daytime naps.
|Infants (4 to 12 months old)||12-16 hours|
|Toddlers (1 to 2 years old)||11-14 hours|
|Children (3 to 5 years old)||10-13 hours|
|Children (6-12 years)||9-12 hours|
|Teenagers (13-18 years old)||8-10 hours|
Here’s some handy sleep tips that may help your child (and you) get the sleep you need:
Establish a regular sleep pattern
Establishing a regular sleep pattern is important. It will help your child understand when it is time to sleep. Also, your child will have better sleep. Bedtime shouldn’t vary by more than an hour across all days of the week (even weekends) – whether your child has an early start the next morning or not. The same goes for waking time.
A consistent bedtime routine
It is good to have the same routine before bed each night. This will help prepare for sleep. Quiet activities are good, such as reading a book or having a bath or shower. In the half hour before bed, there are some things you want to avoid such as active games, playing outside, TV, internet or mobile phone games. These activities will stimulate the child and make it difficult to fall asleep.
Make sure the bedroom is comfortable
The bedroom should be quiet, comfortable, and dark. Some children like a night light. This is fine. Make sure your child sees the bedroom as a good place to be.
Bed is for sleeping, not entertainment
Devices and games will distract your child and are not good for their sleep. Keep them out of the bedroom. “Needing” to watch a screen to fall asleep is a bad habit. This can easily develop, but you don’t want it to happen.
Some foods can disturb sleep
A high intake of sugary or fatty foods has been linked with more restless sleep. Avoid sugary or high fat snacks before bedtime, as well as large meals. A small healthy savoury snack, one hour before bedtime, would be fine.
Take care with daytime naps
It is normal for young children to nap during the day. As your child gets older, they will need less sleep. This means they will need to nap less. The number and length of naps depends on your child. If your child is not going to sleep at a reasonable time at night, it may be time to shorten or stop daytime napping.
Exercise and time outside
Daily exercise is an important part of healthy living. It also promotes good sleep. Time spent in bright daylight does the same. Outdoor exercise achieves both these things. It’s best for young children to go outside for at least 2 hours throughout the day to get the physical activity they need. However, it is best to steer clear of vigorous activity in the hour before sleep.
Work with your doctor
If your child is sick or isn’t comfortable, their sleep will suffer. Some children suffer from specific sleep problems such as frequent nightmares, snoring or sleep apnoea. It is important that these problems are dealt with. If you think ill health is involved, discuss this with your family doctor.
Specific sleep-related issues in children
The Sleep Health Foundation has a range of helpful fact sheets for children with sleep issues. These include tips on sleep issues for children with ADHD (see ADHD and Sleep in Children) or autism (see Autism in Children and Sleep), as well as more general topics such as bedwetting (see Bedwetting), childhood snoring (see Childhood Snoring and Sleep Apnea) and behavioural problems with settling to sleep (see Behavioural Sleep Problems in School Aged Children).
Sleep is important, not only for your child’s well-being, but yours too! For more information about how we promote children’s well being, check out our programs!
6 ways to raise your children to be giving, caring and compassionate kids
How do you teach your child to be compassionate? This may sound like a difficult task, especially when you may have a hard time even getting them to share. Here are a few ways to you can begin to instill this positive character trait.
1. RECOGNIZE AND AKNOWLEDGE GOOD ACTS
Positive reinforcement works well with kids. Encourage your child’s efforts to give back or share with others. If you see your kids being generous even in the smallest way, praise them and acknowledge the gesture.
2. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Kids are visual learners, and the best way to teach them about giving back is by modeling that behavior yourself. You have to give to teach your kids to give.
3. BEING A GIVING FAMILY
Along with setting a good example for your children, have conversations about giving. Be mater of fact about it. Use phrases like “We give to others because we can.” Explain to them why you’re giving time or money to a particular cause and explain why. Actions speak louder then words and there’s no better way to teach kids about giving back than through action.
4. MINDFUL MONEY CHOICES
Teaching your children about setting aside money to give to important causes is the key to raising socially conscious kids. This is also a great well to instill self-regulation and prevent impulsiveness. Along with talking to them about money, teach your children about the value of using a portion of their money to give back to the community and donating to charity.
5. KINDNESS AND TIME ARE EQUIVILANT TO MATERIAL THINGS
Many of us are not able to donate money to charity but that doesn’t mean we can not still teach and instill generosity.
Teach your children the value of giving their time and energy to others. The value of kindness and even the generosity of a smile, opening a door or helping someone pick up something they have dropped holds so much value. Teach your children not to hesitate to jump in and help someone in need.
6. BE A SAFE PHILANTHROPOIST
It’s always important to teach children safe perimeters with respect to giving. There are always reasonable safety concerns to consider when giving whether it be money, time, gestures, material items or food.
A few safety tips to consider sharing based on your child’s age or development
The STOP, THINK, ASK policy is a good one to instill in your children of any age because as we know even kind-hearted adults can be but at risk if they are not careful. Here’s some safety considerations:
• Sharing food can be dangerous because some people have allergies (ask an adult first)
• Smiling at a stranger or saying hello is safe but ask an adult before talking to or helping a stranger
• Ask an adult to help you choose a charity before giving money or valuables.
These tips will go a long way to raising compassionate kids.
For more information about how we foster compassion through our curriculum, click here.