5 Questions You Should Ask to Raise Emotionally Healthy Teens

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Do you often get a simple “It’s OK” and a shoulder shrug whenever you ask your teenager about their day or school? If you said yes, it’s maybe wise to try another way in approaching your adolescent. Providing 3 meals a day and asking about their day may not be enough to truly connect with your teen. In order to have your child be comfortable enough to confide in you in any situation, you need to communicate with intent. 

Kids these days are more prone to suffer from mental health issues as the shift in cultural trends & usage of digital media becomes a big part of their lives. This poses a new set of issues for today’s parents. We need now more so than ever to be able to communicate effectively with our next generation. So how do we raise emotionally healthy teens who can deal with negative emotions and wade through difficult situations?

Ask these questions to get your child responding more than a Yes or No.

  1. How are you feeling emotionally today?

You open up an opportunity to develop a deep honest relationship with your child with these few words. When you ask about feelings & emotions, you are acknowledging that their feelings matter. You are communicating it’s perfectly okay to have emotions, good or bad.  If they open up, make sure to listen to understand, rather than listen to respond. More often than not, they just need you to hear them out. 

  1. What happened today that made you smile or laugh or …

Complete the sentence yourself. Asking open ended questions makes them think instead of a standard, Yes or No. The point is to show you care more than the average day in school. You care to know about the little things, even the most mundane or silly events in their adolescent life.  Nurturing this relationship takes time, patience and understanding. If they do not open up, let it be. Try again the next day.

  1. What are you grateful for today?

Kids and adults these days, unfortunately are very unaware of what they have and VERY aware of what they do not have. It is easy to take things for granted in our everyday hustle and bustle. Make it a point to sit together as a family and talk about gratitude. They will become more content and thankful overall.

  1. If you could relive the day, what would you do differently?

This question allows them to reflect on what went well and what did not. They can improve on the good and learn from their mistakes. This also lets them plan their days better if they have a good understanding and awareness of their everyday life.

  1. Is there anything you want to tell us that may be hard to say?

When your teenager looks down or sad about something, this is a good question to ask rather than “What’s wrong?”. Instead of assuming something is wrong, this gives them the assurance of a safe space to share without the pressure of being judged or punished. You want your child to feel safe to share the bad stuff instead of hiding it from you. When they do, reward them for being candor, do not punish honesty.

 

We believe that when the family unit is healthy, the society will be healthy. Teenage years are the most awkward and testing time in an adolescent life dealing with puberty, studies and society. So instead of being a scary authoritative figure, let’s be kind and gentle in guiding them through their journey of self discovery. 

Sometimes, teenagers do not feel comfortable opening up to their parents no matter what. In these situations, it is healthy to acknowledge that they may need other adult mentors or even professional help. One such helpline is Befrienders. For emotional support, please call their hotline  603-79568145 or email sam@befrienders.org.my

Managing Your Child’s Screen Habits

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Screen time for children is a controversial topic for all parents. Some are for it, some are against it. We believe in balance & moderation. Screens are just tools, if used appropriately it can be beneficial to our child’s development. Here are some tips to help you manage this modern technology. 

 

    1. Age Appropriate Content

There are plenty of educational programs for children according to their ages. Netflix may be better than YouTube or television because there are no advertisements targeting young children. Read reviews and ratings to ensure it is age appropriate. 

Besides avoiding obvious no-no’s such as inappropriate language & violence, research shows that programs that are too fast paced may not be the best choice. A study on kids who watched fast paced programs, such as Spongebob Squarepants shows that children exhibit lower levels of focus & inhibit impulses after just watching 9 minutes of the show. 

An appropriate program for toddlers should be slower pace with positive messages. Although we find programs like Sesame Street boring, it is at a pace where a young child can follow.

 

2. Structure & Limit Screen Time

Just like us adults, our children need a schedule in their daily lives. There are times to eat, play and sleep. Same goes for screen time. You can slot it in when you need time to cook a meal or take a shower. For older kids, you can have them complete a list of tasks such as cleaning their room, fold laundry, do dishes, etc. before they get screen time. 

Set an alarm to let your child know how long they can be watching videos or playing online games, and make sure to stick to it. If you do not know how long is appropriate, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no screen time at all for children under 18 months of age, with the exception of video calls. From ages 2 to 5, it should not exceed 1 hour per day and must be accompanied by a parent. And no more than 2 hours a day for ages 6 and above. 

 

3. Avoid Using Screen Time as a Pacifier 

Too many times, parents have been guilty of shoving a tablet or smartphone in front of their child to stop them from throwing a tantrum, especially in public. This may solve the problem right now, however in the long run, can be damaging to the child’s ability to cope with difficult situations. The healthy way for children to learn to deal with negative emotions is to actually cope with it rather than be distracted out of it. 

 

4. Unplug as a Family

There are plenty of things you can do with your child that do not involve screens. Sit down with your child and list down things you can do together. You can categorise them into 

    • Indoor: Coloring, dancing, Lego, yoga
    • Outdoor: Running, hiking, swimming, cycling 
    • Sports: Basketball, badminton

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Only when you consciously remove this distraction will you realise the value in other activities. Not only does it help you bond with your child, it teaches them that life is so much more than instant gratifications on a modern device. 

 

5. Be A Role Model

You can’t expect your children to be all for this new lifestyle routine if they see their parents constantly on their phones or devices. Put your phone away from plain view, remember out of sight, out of mind. 

Unplug as a family. Show your children that there is life past the screen. Use this as an opportunity to engage in more activities together and strengthen relationships.

 

Use screens as a once in a while thing rather than an easy go-to. Do not give in to their persuasion, it is all about being consistent with your child. Modern devices can be good sources of inspiration & creativity if used in moderation but nothing beats real life experiences. As with any other aspect of parenting, the key is BALANCE. What are other ways you manage your child’s screen habits? Comment down below. 

 

5 Mindfulness Activities You Can Do with Your Child

kids yoga

Most children (even adults) have trouble keeping focus for a sustained period of time. These activities not only lets you bond with your child, it also promotes mindfulness. Everyone can benefit from mindfulness. We can learn to be more aware of our thoughts, feelings, sensations and the environment around us. It helps us to refocus and come back to the present, rather than worrying about the past or the future. 

Here are some simple ways to practise mindfulness with your little ones. 

  1. Arts & Crafts

Besides tapping into their creativity & individuality, arts & crafts can help children to focus on one activity. This can be anything from colouring, doodling, card making, finger painting, DIY decor, DIY toys, origami, play dough, etc. The possibilities are endless! 

You can get simple art materials from your local stationery store. Better yet, reuse or upcycle materials such as toilet paper rolls, straws or ice cream sticks to spread the eco friendly message. Provide simple instructions to guide them through but also leave lots of room for spontaneity. Tell them it is ok to make mistakes, just breathe and move on. 

arts

  1. Connecting with nature

There is nothing like spending time in the great outdoors, breathing in the cool, fresh air. Allow your child to disconnect from the concrete jungle and get in touch with the real jungle. 

You can go hiking, have a picnic or even camp by the riverside. With the abundance of hiking & camping spots in Malaysia, you are sure to find one suitable for your child. 

While you are out, encourage them to look around and take in the environment with their senses. Explain the importance of mother nature and how we should all be more mindful of how we treat it. 

  1. Bake/cook a simple recipe 

Baking or cooking with your child teaches them important skills and boosts their confidence on top of having great bonding time. 

For picky eaters, the more they’re involved in making a recipe the more they are likely to try the end result. Preparing food also improves their literacy and numeracy skills. Get them to read the instructions or count as they measure out ingredients. 

Cooking and baking allow kids to be more mindful about the process of cooking, food waste and serving others. Give praise and encourage them to explore their own creativity through food.

  1. Mindfulness 5-4-3-2-1

This is a fun and engaging activity not just for kids but for adults alike. This is especially great to help kids manage anxiety or anger. Have your kids look at their surroundings and write down five things they can see, four things they can touch, three things they can hear, two things they can smell and one thing they can taste. 

This exercise allows them to stop and be aware of the present moment. By the time they get through the list, they will be more grounded and calm. 

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  1. Practice yoga & guided meditation

Yoga helps children focus while letting them move physically. You can find online tutorials for simple sequences that they can follow along or join a parent-child yoga class.

kids yoga1End the session with guided meditation. Have your child find a comfortable spot on the rug or yoga mat and lie down. Let them close their eyes and just breathe in and out. Read a guided meditation to help them visualise strolling down a white sandy beach or walking through lush green jungle. You can find one online or make it up yourself. Your child will be more present and relaxed after a few minutes. 

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These are simple routines to help your child focus, develop self control, become more self aware and just feel good about themselves. Try these activities out and see the results for yourself. Share with us other ways you practice mindfulness with your child in the comments below. 

 

Women’s Yoga

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As women, we have been cast into multiple roles in life; daughter, mother, sister, wife. And those are just roles put on us by others. Needless to say, we have our own ideas of what our roles should be; career woman, trailblazer, perfectionist, sporty, feminine, caregiver….you get the idea.

Whether we are in our 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s, those roles and expectations shift and change, along the way making us into the women we become. Very often we are either stuck in the past, thinking of what we could have done better or planning for the future and what we could do with it. Very rarely do we truly live in the present, enjoying the moment and soaking in the simple beauty of who we are.

Granted, as women, there is nothing simple about our bodies and minds. In our goal to meet expectations and obligations, we neglect to listen and look after ourselves in the present and the now. Sometimes, we even outright ignore when our body signals to us that there is something wrong and that it is in need of some TLC. In other words, we simply go through the motions.

Our introduction of the Women’s yoga class is to give you that time to listen to your body and give it that desperately needed TLC. It has been specially designed to focus on all things that makes us women. It’s all about YOU! Each pose works on tackling various common issues that we encounter from the dreaded ‘time-of-month’ discomfort to strengthening our overall digestive system and blood circulation.

It is about giving you time to just BREATHE and be in the moment. This 60 minute class will focus entirely on women’s issues and with regular practice will help to tone the body, ease the pain during those monthly visits and keep your body’s internal systems running smoothly so that you can live your daily life effortlessly.

Book a private class with me, Christine by dropping an email at info@hotyostudio.com 🙂

Acro Yoga Workshop

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Acro Yoga Workshop Kuala Lumpur
Over the Valentine’s weekend, Hot Yo Studio held an intimate Partner Yoga workshop taught by certified AcroYoga instructors Foo and Junko. Unlike the customary silence prescribed in most yoga practice, AcroYoga thrives on clear communication hence, there were sweat, smiles, laughter (and just a few grunts) all around.

Acro Yoga Workshop Hot Yo Studio Kuala Lumpur Acro Yoga Workshop Hot Yo Studio Kuala LumpurAcro Yoga Workshop Hot Yo Studio Kuala Lumpur
Acro Yoga Workshop Hot Yo Studio Kuala Lumpur

We understand that it takes a whole lot of trust to let someone else physically move you, let alone fly you in the air! With that in mind, we created a positive, safe and playful environment for AcroYoga that is fit for complete beginners.

Acro Yoga Workshop Hot Yo Studio Kuala Lumpur Acro Yoga Workshop Hot Yo Studio Kuala Lumpur Acro Yoga Workshop Hot Yo Studio Kuala Lumpur

Regardless of your shape, size or experiences, AcroYoga is a partner-based practice that encourages you to take control by letting go. Due to AcroYoga intricacies, it is recommended to practice these acrobatic moves in a class setting with experienced instructors. Beyond teaching you the right techniques, the instructors are there to ensure that you are airborne when you fly and grounded when you land.

Acro Yoga Workshop Hot Yo Studio Kuala Lumpur Acro Yoga Workshop Hot Yo Studio Kuala Lumpur

Giving direction to your partner is literally easier said than done when you are flipped upside down. Reason being your UP is their DOWN and your LEFT is their RIGHT. Our participants wound up communicating with their partners compassionately in order to get through the class gingerly 🙂

Acro Yoga Workshop Hot Yo Studio Kuala Lumpur Acro Yoga Workshop Hot Yo Studio Kuala Lumpur

All in all, a workout that balances strength, flexibility, and laughter was a solid Valentines day at Yo Studio! If AcroYoga tickles your fancy, feel free to email us at info@hotyostudio.com so we can get you up in the air with the expert AcroYogi pair.

4 REASONS TO PRACTICE THE SAME YOGA MOVES

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One of the most common question asked by our students is “Why do we practice the same yoga sequence/moves in the 60mins Gro-Pro class?”. It’s an absolute legit question to be asking. In fact, that kind of curiosity is something that we encourage! 🙂 So let’s clear that one out shall we?

Comprehensive Practice
The sequence is assembled to scientifically warm and stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons, in the order in which they should be stretched

Development
The repetition offers you a clear vantage point from which to watch yourself grow, develop and keep track with your progression

Consistency
Practicing the same poses repeatedly is a powerful way to keep consistent with your practice, especially in the ever-glowing world

Balance
While the practice is challenging and invigorating, there is a balance between working hard and releasing after poses

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YO MUSIC : 04_YO ANTHEM

yo music

YO music hot yo studio
Here we go – the first yo music of 2016!! We had ‘yoga’ in mind when putting this particular playlist together. Is it too straight forward? heh. We know it’s been tough to start up work again these past 2 weeks, so ifff you had to miss some yoga classes,we hope that you still have yoga on the brain, hehe. The clip by Baz Luhrmann is weirdly uplifting, so stay on and listen closely. Happy new year 🙂

♫ Spotify / Youtube
1. Yoga – Janelle Monáe, Jidenna 

2. Growing Up (Sloane’s Song) – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

3. Free -Rudimental ft. Emeli Sandé

4. Dogs – Damien Rice

5. Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen – Baz Luhrmann

6. State Of Mind – Dizzy Wright

7. Yoga Pants – Timn Hawkins