In Episode 20, I offer my best tips on how to be your best prepared adult by how we handle those more stressful situations when working with babies! We discuss things like...
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If you're interested in reading the study regarding breathing and stress, I linked it here.
I linked the study by nature exposure and stress here.
I linked the study showing how singing can decrease stress levels in humans here.
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Bianca A. Solorzano, M.Ed.
Baby Development & Montessori Consultant
And Your Baby Tour Guide
Bianca: [00:00:07] Welcome to Baby Tour Guide’s, Montessori Babies podcast, I'm your host and baby tour guide, Bianca Solorzano, and for the last decade, I have dedicated myself to helping parents, educators and caregivers optimize baby development through a Montessori lens. This podcast is all about evolving our Montessori practice to make our time with our sweet babies easier, relaxed and so much fun. Let's jump into it.
Bianca: [00:00:39] Hello, everyone, welcome to Episode 20 of our Montessori Babies Podcast. Oh, my goodness, I can't even believe we are 20 episodes into our show. It's just incredible. I first want to just start by saying thank you and welcome! And I hope you have found that our show can offer even the slightest bit of support to you in your journey with your baby, your babies, whether you're in home or in the classroom. It's been so fun getting to know everyone. And I'm just so happy to be even a tiny moment in your journey with your baby or babies. I want to start this week with our very first Montessori babies podcast, Patreon shout out. So this week I am sending so much love to the amazing parents and sweet babies of the Khan family. Thanks so much for being amazing members of our community and joining our Patreon community! So happy to have you. And for everyone who isn't familiar with the Montessori babies, Patreon definitely check it out. It's linked below. I basically fused my infant development and Montessori consulting experience within the Patreon. So check that out if you're interested and getting some extra support from me. And so now jumping into our topic for the week. For our 20th episode, I wanted to offer all of you a bunch of my best tips for handling those more stressful moments with your baby or with infants. So what I mean by these stressful moments are those moments where it's harder to think and it's harder to, you know, react and we all react differently in different situations.
Bianca: [00:02:24] And, you know, with infants, the trickier thing is, you know, their main form of communication is through crying. Right. And of course, we learn their other cues and there are other ways that they communicate, but their main form is through crying. And so believe me when I say that I totally know there are moments that are more stressful when your baby's super hungry and they're vocalizing it and letting you know, you know or, you know, say they they get their first bump or their first, as you know, they're starting to move and explore their motor capabilities. You know, they're bigger movements. And there are just some moments where there's a lot going on around you in the house, in the classroom. And, you know, babies also react to energy and stimulation. And, you know, so those moments, too, where we're juggling everything all at once in those moments, it's really important to have a little toolbox in your pocket filled with things that can help us push through those moments and help keep us grounded to help keep our babies grounded. And one of the reasons that having this toolbox is so important is because just as Dr. Montessori said about the prepared adult being in these situations and the way that we respond and handle these situations will in turn affect how our baby responds and handles these situations.
Bianca: [00:03:44] Right. And there's a lot of current research that supports the idea of coagulation in moments of stress. So basically staying at home, our baby's learning how to stay calm by our staying calm and therefore them taking that and developing the idea of self regulation. Right. But us staying calm requires some tools. It's not as simple as just stay calm as many of you probably know. It takes some practice and it's hard, and especially if, you know, you're in these stressful moments and you're just kind of, oh, my gosh, I have to get, you know, their food ready now or there has to be a way to, you know, tone down this energy or so many different things can happen. And it is really difficult to stay calm and to kind of bring ourselves back to, you know, our peace place. So I want to give you some of the tips that have helped me the most, some of the tips that I was also taught in both Montessori and child development. So I hope these tips are helpful. So tip No. One is actually deep breathing. So there's actually been a lot of research on breath work and how it can positively affect your brain and how your brain is functioning. When we're in moments of high levels of stress, changing your breath can actually change the way that you're feeling. So making a point to focus on your breath, taking deep breaths in and deep breaths out may actually help the way that you're responding in that situation, help you feel calmer.
Bianca: [00:05:24] And this is definitely something that I used both in the classroom and in the home settings in some of those moments. So this is one of my favorite things to do. And honestly, it almost feels like a form of meditation. Were you just trying to focus on your breath in that moment and it's really just a couple of moments of focusing on your breath so you can get back and really focus on, you know, whatever needs to happen in the moment to best help your child. You know, and I found some amazing studies on this. So I will have those linked in the show notes for you. And I actually found this amazing quote by Antoinette Foy, who said, “Breathe deeply and tell Sweet Air extinguishes the burn of fear in your lungs. And every breath is a beautiful refusal to become anything less than infinite.” I thought I was just so beautiful and just such a perfect way to describe our goal in those moments. Are we taking those deep breaths and trying to just help us help our babies and bring us to that calm state where we can be able to really give off the energy that we want to in that moment. So the second tip that I have for you in those moments of stress is almost like using that escapism tactic in your mind for just one split second.
Bianca: [00:06:43] My tip is to have a happy place when that brings you just pure joy for yourself and keep that image in your pocket to pull it out when you need it. And I mean this figuratively. So for me, for example, that happy place is actually I have a couple that I keep at my disposal, but one of them, for example, is being in the ocean and the water diving under a wave and feeling the wave, you know, brush my hair, essentially, you know, when you dive under a wave and it's just like that really smooth feeling when it's calm waters and you come up when the water's glassy and it's just, you know, being in that moment to me physically being there is one of the most peaceful feelings that I feel on this earth. And so I keep that moment close and think about it if I need to. And that also just kind of helps my brain escape to that place for a second. Think about the serenity that is there and then kind of bring myself back to be able to handle the current situation. So and I know that everybody's peace place is so different. So just having whatever brings you joy or peace in your pocket to think about it in those moments when you need to, you can even literally have a picture of something in your pocket that brings you joy, if that's helpful to you.
Bianca: [00:08:11] I actually do know educators and parents who, when I have offered this to have put an actual image of something that brings them joy, just them for their own self and their own person brings them joy. And so in those moments when they need to kind of reconnect with their happy and bring this back to that groundedness from those stressful moments, they can take a quick peek at it. But if you're even able to just kind of have that happen, you know, figurative happy place in your mind and focus on that for a couple of seconds, it's really, really helpful in those moments. So then there's that tip as well. One of the biggest tips that I have actually, for both you and baby is an environment change. So that can mean going into a different room. That can mean walking down the hall, and that can mean stepping outside, stepping into a new environment can almost mentally be like stepping into a new situation. And so even if you're still dealing with something from the previous moment, it can trigger in your mind something positive because we're stepping into something new and we're dealing with it, you know, whatever it is in that moment. So that's one of the biggest tips that I have. And actually one that I found really, really, really helpful is changing the environment that you're in. So taking, you know, a couple steps into the next environment, if at all possible, is really, really helpful as well.
Bianca: [00:09:43] And I have had moments where I'm alone with a couple of children. And in that moment, for me to be able to function properly and be there and be present, which is the best thing that we can possibly do, is be present. I needed a second to change my environment. And so we do something fun, like step outside and put a quilt out and take a look at the beautiful trees and talk about what's going on. Talk about the airplane that's flying by, you know. So that's one really big tip that I have is an environment change. But on that same note, the next trip that I have here can be a point five to this one is getting outside. Now, nature has always been a happy place for me, a peace place for me, as I'm sure it is for many of you. And I know I've always felt, you know, just so rejuvenated. After even stepping outside with my entire class of nine or 12 infants, obviously, you know, with the other couple of teachers that are in this space and getting outside, but you just you come back into this space almost feeling rejuvenated. Right. And kind of the same thing with my own personal experiences stepping into nature and coming back into whatever environment I'm active in. I found this amazing study where researchers aimed to study the effect of nature on stress levels.
Bianca: [00:11:06] And it came out that spending just 20 minutes a day can positively affect stress response levels. And so I will have this link for you below, but essentially I cannot recommend this tip more. I have personally felt like this was one of the best tips there was before I even found this study. I've been using this tactic for a lot, a lot of years, and it really works. So I definitely suggest it. For example, you know, being in a classroom with many infants, there can occasionally be moments where multiple infants are having a hard time or when a baby starts crying and, you know, they feed off of each other's energy, of course. And and so having that change of environment is just amazing for those moments. Amazing, amazing. Amazing. So quick story for you. When I was in the classroom, we had a stroller that we called the buggy and it was an infant stroller that had six baby seats on it. So you can imagine it was a big honking stroller. And there were definitely times where that was just the best idea. We make sure all the baby's needs are met in that moment. And then to transition out of that, you know, energy of the moment, we go on a buggy ride and it just worked wonders. We would get outside, feel the air on our faces, listen to the birds chirping, listen to the wind blowing through the leaves of the trees, you know, and there were other moments where we would just head outside, put a quilt out, you know, bring out some bars and just have a change of environment.
Bianca: [00:12:48] And that just works wonders for those moments. So I definitely suggest it. It's amazing for tiny babies. It's amazing for, you know, newly mobile babies and it's amazing for fully mobile babies. So definitely try that one out in those moments. It's helpful to you. It's helpful to the babies. So when I suggest for sure another tip that I have, which I'm sure you guys will expect if you've listened to some of our previous episodes, is specifically the music one is to sing. So bringing out some of your favorite songs, getting on the floor with your baby or babies or your classroom of infants and just breaking out into song and those moments really, really helpful. I mentioned in our music episode that there's actually research on singing and stress levels before and after singing and after singing. The twenty seventeen study showed that it did reduce stress levels. So breaking out into song can not only help you, it can help your baby in those moments. Also, because they're so drawn to our voice and drawn to, you know, the way that we fluctuate in the way that we move within our songs. If your song has hand gestures, all the better. You know, if you put your child in front of you and you're singing and breaking out into song and bringing out all of your child's favorite songs and you know it, even your favorite songs in those moments really, really helpful.
Bianca: [00:14:17] And I personally love music and I love to sing. And so that's also something that I would do quite a bit. Sometimes in those moments, too, I would bring out some fun special instruments that I kept away and would bring out at very specific times. And so that was not only, you know, a transition into music, but it was something that was special and exciting. So that's also a little small tip within the tip is to have special instruments for special moments, like another tip that I have that's kind of within the same idea is dance. So dancing, dancing it out like Meredith and Cristina on Grey's Anatomy. If you ever watched Grey's Anatomy playing some of your favorite songs, they're not even necessarily singing it, but playing it and then dancing away with you baby in arms, or if you have a mobile baby who likes to dance next to you. Such a great way to move away from a stressful moment. And obviously, depending on the context of the stressful moment, you know, there are moments where we have to take care of things before we can do that, but it's a great way to transition out of it. And if you're still feeling the stresses from the previous moment, then transitioning into something like singing or dancing as your next activity is a great way to flip that switch to positivity for the next couple of moments of your day.
Bianca: [00:15:36] And the last tip that I have is use all of these and keep all of these in your toolbox. I will honestly say that for myself, the combination of doing some deep breaths, focusing on something joyful or pulling that happy place image into my mind is really helpful for that moment of where I need to react to something or if I need to react to something, you know, say it's something like, you know, your child's super hungry and you're getting something together or they got that bumper bruise or, you know, something like that where just you're trying to work to get something so we can help the child. Just taking those breaths as you're doing it could help keep you calm, which can in turn help keep them calm. So that's helpful to do. And then using those tips, like getting outside, singing, dancing, even just moments after those moments, you know, is really, really helpful. And if it is something like there's a lot of chaos going around in the space and there's just a lot of noise and, you know, a lot of stimulation and there's stuff going on that environment change is just so perfect. So hope for getting outside can really do that trick. So anyway, I hope this is really helpful in Montessori. The prepared adult is a vital role to the child's experience.
Bianca: [00:17:09] And so keeping all of this in mind and recognizing that, you know, the way that we react not only will influence the way that they learn how to react and that they learn how to, you know, respond in certain situations, because the number one way that they're going to learn is through modeling. But it'll also really help us stay calm, just as a general concept, you know, enjoy those moments and enjoy those experiences and see those moments for what they are in those moments and help us be effective. And so just definitely keep this toolbox close and pull it out when you need it. Throughout my time in the field, I've been guided by mentors to do these types of things, to keep my happy place and, you know, focus on my breath in those moments so I can be the most prepared adult that I can be in that moment and be prepared for those moments so that when they occur, I'm still my own best self and just doing the best that I can in that moment with my toolbox in my pocket.
So I hope this episode was helpful to you. I definitely hope that you try out some of these tips. Let me know how they work for you. I would love to hear from you. And I'm actually going to go ahead and end this episode with just, I guess, a thought provoker. One of the reasons that I think it's so important to have this toybox, in my experience and with my observations that it's been so important to have something like this is because of what I just mentioned, is because our our kids are learning from us.
Bianca: [00:18:43] And the number one way that they're going to learn their responses is by that modeling. So by modeling this toolbox that we have with these different tactics, by the breathing and, you know, the happy place. And even if we are taking deep breaths and, you know, our child is seeing that, that's a good thing, you know, because these types of moments will occur even in their existence. And so I'm seeing that, oh, mom or dad or teacher, nanny or, you know, caregiver, they take deep breaths in these moments. And later on, they'll start to process that in a more conscious way. And we will have offered this amazing foundation of, hey, these are the tools in my toolbox. Here are some for you as well. So it's just something that I have considered within my experience. And I hope this can be helpful to you and yours as well. So thank you for listening to Episode 20 of our Montessori Babies podcast. I'm just so grateful for all of you. Definitely feel free to reach out. I love getting to know everyone. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and that's about it for this week. So I will catch you in the next episode. Bye!
Bianca: [00:19:59] Hey, it's Bianca, your baby tour guide here. Hopping back in to say thank you again for listening to this episode of Montessori Babies. If you found this episode helpful and would like more information, hop on over to babytourguide.com and download my FREE Montessori eGuide to join our community and receive the latest on optimizing development through a Montessori Lens. You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook @ babytourguide. Also, if you found this episode helpful to your Montessori practice, I would absolutely love it if you would leave a review to help other parents and educators find our show. Thanks again for listening. I will catch you in the next episode. Bye!