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Our Little Learner classes ALWAYS include some cuddle time, with dimmed lights, and colorful “stars” on the ceiling. It’s a beautiful time to slow down and focus on the connection you’ve built with your child over the previous 30 minutes or so.
The benefits of cuddle time include giving both you and your child a flood of feel-good hormones, what Conscious Discipline calls “Joy Juice.” This hormonal cocktail is what calms your brain & nervous system, promotes bonding, and just makes you feel good.
Oxytocin is the “love” hormone, and it is produced when you engage in safe and loving touch with a loved one. It can be hugging, rocking, breast feeding, butterfly kisses, an I Love You Ritual, or our musical cuddle time. Any time you focus on and touch someone lovingly you this hormone bathes your brain. This love hormone also measurably decreases stress and cortisol levels in your body. It also has been proven to decrease the perception of physical pain.
Who doesn’t need more of that in their life?
This beautiful moment is often a favorite but can also be stressful for some parents. Maybe your child doesn’t calm easily. Maybe they are roaming about the room and vocalizing in loud tones. Maybe they don’t want to lie down, be held, and rocked gently to the music.
That’s okay too! Just by modeling relaxation for your child, they will receive benefit from this activity. Relaxation is a learned skill, and not one that always comes naturally to a toddler. So as you relax, breathe deeply, and calm your nervous system, so too can your child learn to as well.
So next time you come to a Little Learner class, lean in to this moment. Don’t let cuddle time just pass by without thinking about its intention and benefit. Engage in the I Love You Ritual that precedes cuddle time. Help establish a sense of calm and rest in the class by participating in the deep breathing and creating a “hush”. These cues will come to trigger a calm response in both yourself and your child. Then you can fully connect and enjoy the two minutes you have to simply be with your child.